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Emilie Baker Loring (1864 - March 13, 1951) was a prolific American romance novelist of the 20th century. She began writing in 1914 at the age of 50 and continued until her death after a long illness in 1951. After her death, her estate was managed by her sons, Selden M. and Robert M. Loring, who, based on a wealth of unfinished material they discovered, published twenty more books under her name until 1972. These books were ghost-written by Elinore Denniston.
Emilie Loring was born in Boston, Massachusetts in 1864 to George M. Baker and Emily Frances (Boles) Baker. Her father was a playwright and publisher and her mother was a homemaker. Loring married Victor J. Loring, who was a lawyer. She died in Wellesley, Massachusetts on March 13, 1951. At the time of her death, Loring had sold more than a million copies of her first thirty books.
Loring's son, Selden M. Loring was also an author. He wrote Young Buckskin Spy (Lantern Press, 1954) and Mighty Magic: An Almost-True Story of Pirates and Indians (Holliday House, 1964).
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Loring's books are highly formulaic and focus on the "wholesome love" and independent spirit of women who still value homemaking and motherhood. There are no sexual situations in her novels, and most are tinged with action-adventure plots that stimulate the main characters' emotions and provide drama. It was not until the 1960s that her male characters were allowed to say "damn." The majority of her novels are not overtly religious, although a few of her novels do give reference to prayer to a greater or lesser degree, or have clergy as secondary characters, such as Gay Courage, published in 1936. Her novel Swift Water outlines her religious views most explicitly, as her main character undergoes a conversion of sorts. Most of her novels include heroines who come to rely on a higher power as part of their character development. Beyond romance, her books also explore a selection of topics including, but not limited to marriage, love, American patriotism, freedom, and optimism.
She enjoyed painting pictures with her words, often describing the environment, architecture, dress, and physical features of characters in exacting detail. Like time capsules, a great deal can be learned about the dress, etiquette, social classes, and political and economic conditions of the year each book was written in.
Her work features several repeating motifs. Among them are a girl who is twenty-three with red hair, a dark-haired lawyer or aspiring politician for a hero, a secondary character predisposed toward speaking in quotations, a fan back chair, a Mandarin coat, a Chinese lacquer screen (room divider), New England as a setting or character trait (“New England granite”), and a black-and-white spotted dog. She also favored the surname "Shaw", which was the maiden name of Herman Melville's wife, who was the daughter of noted Massachusetts jurist Lemuel Shaw. The middle name of both her sons is Melville. Given what is known of her life, such as her connections to New England, the name "Shaw", and a predilection toward lawyers, it is possible that these recurring details are somewhat autobiographical.
Often-used plot devices in her novels include a lost will, a ward coming of age, an orphaned character, a sickly sister, a marriage of convenience or contract, and a clandestine marriage.
Emilie Loring often re-uses favorite phrases including "gay courage," "try, everlastingly try," and "ideas and ideals." Her book Beyond the Sound of Guns (1945) is referenced nine times in America’s Popular Sayings: Over 1600 Expressions on Topics from Beauty to Money and Everything In Between by Gregory Titelman, citing phrases that turn out to be quotes or paraphrases from someone else.
Her earlier books, published from 1922 to 1937, were originally published in hardcover by William Penn & Company in Philadelphia. Her books from 1938 to 1950 were originally published by Little, Brown and Company, as were all of her posthumous works. All thirty of her novels written during her lifetime were reprinted by Grosset (now Grosset & Dunlap) in 1961. Later[when?] all of her works were reprinted in mass market paperback editions by the romance division of Bantam Books.
As late as 2005, Thorndike Press, an imprint of Thomson Gale, was reprinting select titles in large-print format, although their website did not show them in their 2007 catalog. Little, Brown and Company owns the copyright on books dated (1952?) to 1954. Emilie Loring’s sons, Robert and Selden, are listed as "Child of the author" in searchable copyright renewal records.
Selden was listed first in the copyright information from 1955 to 1960 (or 1961?). From 1962 to 1971, Robert is listed first in the copyright information. In the 1972 novel The Shining Years, only Robert is listed as the copyright owner as the Executor of the Estate of Emilie Baker Loring.