Ella Wheeler Wilcox was an American author and poet. Ella was born on November 5, 1850 to a poor farm family in Wisconsin. The youngest of four children, her mother was fond of literature and encouraged her to develop a love for reading and writing.
Wilcox's first poem was written when she was 8 years old, and by the age of 14, she was published. Before graduating high school, Wilcox was known as a poet by those who lived in Wisconsin.
Her most famous poem was "Solitude," which contains the lines: "Laugh, and the world laughs with you; Weep, and you weep alone." It was inspired by a woman she came in contact with while traveling to the Governor's inaugural ball. It was published by the New York Sun on February 25, 1883, and she received $5 for it.
During her life, Wilcox received many rejection letters before a publisher gave her books of poetry a chance. Despite these rejections, Wilcox remained very optimistic. Her best-known poetry book was Poems of Passion (1883).
Many of the subjects Wilcox wrote about included theosophy, new thought, and spiritualism. She believed in reincarnation, which was a source of her optimism. Her goal was to lift people's spirits with her writing.
Ella Wheeler Wilcox died of cancer on October 30, 1919.