Mary Johnston, novelist, historian, playwright, suffragist, and social advocate, as well as the first woman to top best-seller lists in the twentieth century, wears an elaborate dress in this photograph taken in 1901. This image of the thirty-one-year-old author was taken shortly after the success of her second novel, To Have and To Hold, a romantic tale of colonial Virginia that launched her into the national spotlight. The Atlantic slave trade and the Civil War were among the historical subjects Johnston researched and wrote about in some of her other novels. Her father, William Johnston, was cousin to Confederate general Joseph E. Johnston, and himself a veteran of the American Civil War. "We lived in a veritable battle cloud," Mary Johnston wrote about her childhood, "an atmosphere of war stories, of continued reference to the men and to the deeds of that gigantic struggle."