Growing up, Helen Hunt Jackson learned to do the right thing. After all, her father was a preacher. She learned the importance of writing, too. Her mother was a writer and her father was also a professor. The famous poet, Emily Dickinson, was a classmate of hers. Later in her life, Helen Hunt Jackson was also influenced by Harriet Beecher Stowe, the author of the anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom's Cabin. The success of that book showed her how much a piece of writing could influence people's ideas.
It is not surprising then that Helen Hunt Jackson considered two of her books, A Century of Dishonor and Ramona, to be the most important works of her life. Both of these books supported Native Americans in their fight for fair treatment.
Helen Hunt Jackson was both an activist for Native American causes and a writer. She didn't always write about Native American issues, however. Her early writings included children's stories, travel articles, poems, and novels. Like many women writers of her time, she began her career writing under a pseudonym.
She received a commission to write articles about California for a magazine. When she traveled there, she began to learn about the Mission Indians of southern California. Altogether, she published about thirty books and over one hundred articles. She is best remembered, however, for A Century of Dishonor and Ramona. She published both of these books under her own name.