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Exploring Family Lore in Fiction and Nonfiction

“As an independent scholar, novelist and direct descendant of Francis Martin Drexel, grandfather of Saint Katharine Drexel, and of Nicholas Biddle, president of the Second Bank of the United States, I’ve had the privilege to combine historical research with family lore when writing nonfiction and fiction,” says Cordelia Frances Biddle of Philadelphia. She currently is writing a biography of Nicholas Biddle and found “an unexpected aspect of the famous financier” in diaries he kept during his youthful European sojourn in the early 1800s and in previously undiscovered correspondence between Nicholas Biddle and James Monroe, who served as the fifth president of the United States (1817–25).

Cordelia Biddle

Cordelia Frances Biddle

Cordelia Biddle teaches creative writing in Drexel University’s Pennoni Honors College. Her Martha Beale Series, set in 1840’s Philadelphia, explores the chasm between wealth and poverty during a turbulent period. Her first novel, Beneath the Wind, examined the effects of imperialism in 1903.