Frances E.W. Harper, in full Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, nee Frances Ella Watkins, (born September 24, 1825, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.--died February 22, 1911, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), American author, orator, and social reformer who was notable for her poetry, speeches, and essays on abolitionism, temperance, and woman suffrage.Frances Watkins was the daughter of free black parents. She grew up in the home of an uncle whose school for black children she attended. At age 13 she went to work as a domestic in a Baltimore, Maryland, household but continued her education on her own. About..