Louisa Amelia Knappe Smith Clappe
(1819 - 1906)
Born in New Jersey, Louise Amelia Knapp Smith Clappe moved with her husband to San Francisco in 1849, then left two years later for gold-mining camps in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. She published twenty-three letters about life there under the pseudonym Dame Shirley in the California literary magazine The Pioneer. One historian called them “the best account of an early mining camp that is known to me”; another claimed they influenced stories by Clappe’s friend Bret Harte.