Sarah O. Jewett

Sarah O. Jewett books and biography


Sarah Orne Jewett

Sarah Orne Jewett
Sarah Orne Jewett

Sarah Orne Jewett (September 3, 1849 – June 24, 1909), American novelist and short story writer, whose works were set in or near South Berwick, Maine, a declining New England seaport town near the Maine border with New Hampshire. Jewett's father was a doctor, and Jewett often accompanied him on his rounds, becoming acquainted with the sights and sounds of her native land and its people. As treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, a condition that developed in early childhood, Jewett was sent on frequent walks and through them also developed a love of nature. [1] In later life, Jewett often visited Boston, where she was acquainted with many of the most influential literary figures of her day; but she always returned to South Berwick, the "Deephaven" of her stories.

Jewett published her first important story in the Atlantic Monthly at age 19, and her reputation grew throughout the 1870s and '80s. Her literary importance arises from her careful, if subdued, vignettes of country life that reflect a contemporary interest in local color rather than plot. Jewett possessed a keen descriptive gift that William Dean Howells called "an uncommon feeling for talk--I hear your people." Jewett's most characteristic works include the novella The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896); A Country Doctor (1884), a novel about a New England girl who rejects marriage to become a doctor; and The White Heron (1886), a collection of short stories. Some of Jewett's poetry was collected in Verses (1916), and she also wrote three children's books. Willa Cather described Jewett as a significant influence on her development as a writer.[2]

Jewett established a close friendship with writer Annie Fields and her husband, publisher James T. Fields, editor of the Atlantic Monthly. After the death of James Fields in 1881, Jewett and Annie Fields lived together for the rest of Jewett's life (Fields died in 1915) in what was then termed a "Boston marriage." Not surprisingly, some modern scholars have speculated that the two were lovers. [3].

On September 3, 1902, Jewett was injured in a carriage accident that effectively ended her writing career. She died following a stroke in 1909. The Jewett family home in South Berwick, built in the late eighteenth century, is preserved as a National Historic Landmark.[4]


  1. ^ For instance, one stroll she found "neighborly with the hop-toads and with a joyful robin who was sitting on a corner of the barn, and I became very intimate with a great poppy which had made every arrangement to bloom as soon as the sun came up." Fields, ed. Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett, 45.
  2. ^ Oxford Companion to American Literature, 382
  3. ^ A personal GLTB website;Violetbooks; a more cautious appraisal on the website of the Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project
  4. ^ Website of Historic New England

Selected works

  • Deephaven, James R. Osgood, 1877
  • Play Days, Houghton, Osgood, 1878
  • Old Friends and New, Houghton, Osgood, 1879
  • Country By-Ways, Houghton-Mifflin, 1881
  • A Country Doctor, Houghton-Mifflin, 1884
  • The Mate of the Daylight, and Friends Ashore, Houghton-Mifflin, 1884
  • A Marsh Island, Houghton-Mifflin, 1884
  • A White Heron and Other Stories, Houghton-Mifflin, 1886
  • The Story of the Normans, Told Chiefly in Relation to Their Conquest of England, G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1887
  • The King of Folly Island and Other People, Houghton-Mifflin, 1888
  • Tales of New England, Houghton-Mifflin, 1890
  • Betty Leicester: A Story for Girls, Houghton-Mifflin, 1890
  • Strangers and Wayfarers, Houghton-Mifflin, 1890
  • A Native of Winby and Other Tales, Houghton-Mifflin, 1893
  • Betty Leicester's English Christmas: A New Chapter of an Old Story, privately printed for the Bryn Mawr School, 1984
  • The Life of Nancy, Houghton-Mifflin, 1895
  • The Country of the Pointed Firs, Houghton-Mifflin, 1896
  • The Queen's Twin and Other Stories, Houghton-Mifflin, 1899
  • The Tory Lover, Houghton-Mifflin, 1901
  • An Empty Purse: A Christmas Story, privately printed, 1905

Further reading

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Sarah Orne Jewett
Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Sarah Orne Jewett
  • Literary Encyclopedia
  • Works by Sarah Orne Jewett at Project Gutenberg
  • The Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project
  • The Country of Pointed Firs at
  • Sarah Orne Jewett's Literature Online
  • PAL

This article might use material from a Wikipedia article, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

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