Elizabeth Whitfield Croom was born in Florida in 1837 and moved to Alabama when she married Brian Bellamy in 1858. The next few years were as harrowing as a gothic novel. Not only did the war take over her existence but her two young children and her husband all died between 1861 and 1863. Near destitute, she turned to professions allowed to women, teaching and writing. She achieved quick success with her first novel, Four Oaks, written under the pseudonym of Kemba Thorpe. The Encyclopedia of Alabama remembers her as "a critically acclaimed author of poems, short stories, and novels. Unlike many post-Civil War southern writers, who focused their works on romanticizing the Old South, Bellamy instead steeped her works in the everyday experiences of contemporary people, both white and black and men and women. Her fiction tackled subjects as diverse as the plight of newly freed African Americans, the South's reconciliation with the North, and the New South's movement toward diversification of agriculture and industrialization."
"Ely's Automatic Housemaid," not about a "robot" but “An Automatic Household Beneficent Genius," was one her last pieces, published in the December 1899 issue of The Black Cat, just a few months before she died. That magazine is known today for publishing the early work of such writers as Ben Hecht, Fulton Oursler, Clark Ashton Smith, Vincent Starrett, Rex Stout, and Henry Miller, not to mention the first story that Jack London got paid for, a piece about bringing the dead back to life.