From the late 1860s until her death in 1910, Rebecca Harding Davis was one of the best-known writers in America. She broke into print as a young woman in the 1860s with "Life in the Iron Mills," which established her as one of the pioneers of American realism. She developed a literary theory of the "commonplace" nearly two decades before William Dean Howels shaped his own version of the concept. Yet, in spite of her importance to the literary and popular culture of her time, she has been, for the most part, ignored by scholars. Rebecca Harding Davis and American Realism helps to change that.