Martha Finley was a teacher, born in Chillicothe, Ohio, 1829. She wrote children's Sunday school materials and was a devout Christian. Finley became severely ill as an adult, and, when she recovered, was quite an invalid. God blessed her with inspiration, giving her the idea for Elsie Dinsmore as a way to support herself. During her lifetime, she had more than 25 million readers who adored her character both in North America and England. Devotion to Jesus as well as goodness, generosity, grace, and piety are the main themes she encourages throughout the stories. In all, Finley wrote 28 Elsie books (in addition to the Millie Keith series), before she died in Elkton, Maryland, 1909.