Since Mary Alice Wyman began the process of her recovery in the mid-1920s, the life and work of Elizabeth Oakes Smith, once a subject in mass market news from New York to Los Angeles, has only gradually returned to our conversations about the development of American culture.   Like so many women writers of the nineteenth century, her recovery has been impeded by modernist assumptions about literary value ("good literature" is complex, unified, and difficult) and by patriarchal ideology generally, but when the "first wave" of these women writers' recovery took place in the 1960s and 70s, Oakes Smith's work, predictably "trashed" by the same arbiters of serious literature who had dismissed Fanny Fern, E.D.E.N. Southworth and Elizabeth Stuart Phelps, was somehow left in the shadows.   

Reasons for this delayed recovery are hardly settled, but one of the them is certainly the difficulty, until very recently, of physically obtaining copies--or even a look--at some of her major texts.  To supplement new access to Oakes Smith's body of work through digital archives, this website has been created to offer basic information to scholars new to EOS and to provide a forum for new discoveries that will provide the foundation for a view of Oakes Smith that does credit to her major influence on literary and political discourse during a lifetime that practically spanned the nineteenth century.

My friends, do we realize for what purpose we are convened? Do we fully understand that we aim at nothing less than an entire subversion of the present order of society, a dissolution of the whole existing social compact?
— Elizabeth Oakes Smith--National Women's Rights Convention, 1852