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Picture of Julia L. DumontJulia Louisa Dumont
(1794 - 1857)

Hoosier Connection: Julia L. Dumont moved with her husband in 1814 to Vevay, Indiana, a small frontier town on the Ohio River. Dumont wrote short stories and poems for magazines. She is most well-known for teaching school in Vevay. Two of her most famous pupils are George Cary Eggleston and Edward Eggleston.

Works Discussed: Life Sketches from Common Paths, "Sketches from Life", "Spring"

Julia Dumont was one of the first well-known female writers from the Ohio River valley. She published her short stories and poems in Mid-western magazines, including the Cincinnati Literary Gazette, the Cincinnati Mirror, the Western Gem and Cabinet of Literature, The Ladies’ Repository, the Cincinnati Chronicle, and the Southwestern Journal and Monthly Review. Almost all of her short stories, which usually feature a young orphan overcoming adversity to find his long-lost relatives, are set in Indiana. Her stories contrast the beauty of the wilderness with the setting and mood of a pioneer town. In "Sketches from Life," she describes the changes brought by civilization:

A giant tree, with all its arms of pride, is lying prostrate- and now another- a and yet another…a merry interlude, the click of a dozen axes, as if in rivalry, fills up the pauses. Woe for the towering forest! Woe for the silence of its ancient shades! How irreverently are its honors scattered to the dust! How rudely are the vulgar ministers of sound breaking into its depths! But the laborers are looking cheerily up to the broad patches of blue sky; and the sun, that has hitherto been seen but as a vailed god through those cloistered shades, is breaking in, fully and gloriously, through a dozen openings. The checkered-off domains are speedily appropriated- lines and limits are drawn, and specific rights duly designated. The clink of the hammer, and the forced rush of the saw, come next upon our ear, and the cabins are going up with no tardy operation (234).

Near the end of her life, Dumont gathered together many of her short stories and compiled them to create her only book, Life Sketches from Common Paths. Her poems were never compiled, but they provide a different perspective on the environment. Dumont tends to describe more of the natural world about her, instead of focusing on creating a story with a moral. In her poem "Spring," Dumont writes,

The air is soft, mingling melodies filled,
Newly waked from slumbering strings;
The song of the bird, by the bleak winter stilled,
And the murmur of founts, that the north breath had chilled,
And the hum of new life, on glad wings.
And the wide brightening forest that gloomily flung
Its grey arms ‘gainst a desolate sky;
While the voice of the storm through its sullen glades rung,
Like a hollow and wailing cry.
How graceful it bends in its richly robed pride,
As if courting the light’s yellow play;
How deep are the shadows it flings far and wide
O’er the streams, whose waters rejoicingly glide
Through its depths in their beauty, away (146).

Dumont died in 1857 in Vevay, Indiana. She is still well known in Vevay, for being a part of one of the pioneer families as well as the teacher of two prominent Indiana writers, the Eggleston brothers.



Banta, R.E., Ed." Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1816-1916. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1949.

Dumont, Julia L. “Sketches from Life.” The Ladies Repository: a monthly periodical, devoted to literature, arts and religion. August 1843. <http://www.hti.umich.edu>.

---- . “Spring.” The Ladies Repository: a monthly periodical, devoted to literature, arts and religion. May 1842. <http://www.hti.umich.edu>.

Shumaker, Arthur Wesley. A History of Indiana Literature. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1962.