Fanny Fern, born Sara Willis (July 9, 1811 – October 10, 1872), was an American novelist, children's writer, humorist, and newspaper columnist in the 1850s to 1870s. Fern's popularity has been attributed to her conversational style and sense of what mattered to her mostly middle-class female readers. By 1855, Fern was the highest-paid columnist in the United States, commanding $100 per week for her New York Ledger column. A collection of her columns published in 1853 sold 70,000 copies in its first year. Her best-known work, the fictional autobiography Ruth Hall (1854), has become a popular subject among feminist literary scholars.