Cross, Jane (Tandy Chinn) Hardin

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CROSS, Jane (Tandy Chinn) Hardin

Born 1817, Harrodsburg, Kentucky; death date unknown

Wrote under: Jane T(andy) H. Cross

Daughter of Judge Chinn; married James P. Hardin, 1835 (died);Reverend Cross, 1848

Married at the age of eighteen, Jane Hardin Cross was widowed with three children at twenty-five. She remarried six years later and began a nomadic life traveling around Europe and the South, teaching at various colleges together with her husband. This mode of living seemed to suit her, for she remarked with good humor that her life was "as roving as that of an Arab." Soon after her remarriage Cross began publishing her four-volume collection of children's tales and her tales for "sorrowful women." She also wrote poetry and was a prolific contributor to religious magazines.

Cross' collections of works for children—Heart Blossoms for My Little Daughter (1855), Wayside Flowerets (1850), Bible Gleanings (1853), and Driftwood (1851)—are composed of short, whimsical prose sketches illustrating one specific mood or theme. Typical of her work is "Scarlet Geraniums," in which Cross tries to capture the essence of a "day made for joy." The sketch, which runs only a few pages, conveys mood rather than plot. "La Petite Fée," another mood piece, is a panegyric to a close female friend whose charm and good nature have the much-appreciated effect of bringing the author from depression to joy. By analogy, Cross praises all close female friendships she feels are nurturing. "Manangel" recounts the death of a good man who, facing death, shows his true courage and moral strength. He ends his life without fear of bitterness, praising God's will with equanimity. Other sketches, such as "The Magic Ring," are fantasies for children.

Cross' prose style is ornate, elegant, and poetical. It is steeped with references to religious persons and events. Her most frequent images deal with flowers, sunlight, precious jewels, pretty colors, and sweet fragrances. Yet there is also a darker, more morbid side to her sketches. Grief, sorrow, and death are not absent from Cross' awareness, but she would rather soothe sorrow than expose it.

Other Works:

Duncan Adair; or, Captured in Escape (1864). Azile (1868).


Freeman, J. D., Women of the South Distinguished in Literature (1866).