Elizabeth Prentiss, best known as the author of the novel Stepping Heavenward, was born in 1818 in Portland, Maine. Her father, Edward Payson was a well known preacher in the Puritan tradition. Edward and his wife Louisa had six children, and the Payson home was close-knit and loving. Elizabeth was just nine years old when her father died of tuberculosis at the age of forty-four. This tragedy affected her deeply.
Career options for women were limited, and Elizabeth began teaching in order to help support her family. She taught in Portland and Virginia until the age of twenty-seven. In 1845, she married George Prentiss, minister of a Presbyterian church in Bedford Massachusetts until 1851, and then of a leading church in …
James, Sharon Ann. "Elizabeth Prentiss". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 14 January 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=11950, accessed 23 April 2017.]