Mary Wilkins Freeman
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Mary Wilkins Freeman

Brooks Memorial Library hosts book launch for new edition of short stories by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

BRATTLEBORO — Celebrate the newly released edition of 28 short stories by Brattleboro author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman with the initially intended title Green Mountain Stories on Tuesday, May 30, 7 p.m., at Brooks Memorial Library, 224 Main Street.

Originally published in 1887 as A Humble Romance and Other Stories, this new edition features an introduction and critical commentary by Freeman scholar Brent Kendrick, who will discuss the stories and the change in title. The collection includes such favorites as “On the Walpole Road” and “White Heron.”

Freeman (1852–1930) enjoyed distinguished accolades throughout her career as a short story writer and novelist. At the start of the 20th century - when her career was at its height - she and Mark Twain were considered America's most beloved writers.

The bronze doors at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York (installed at its West 155 Street Administration Building in 1938) bear the inscription, “Dedicated to the Memory of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and the Women Writers of America.”

She was the first recipient of the William Dean Howells Gold Medal for Distinguished Work in Fiction (1925) and was among the first women elected to membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1926). She launched her literary career while living in Brattleboro, and she never severed her connections to the Green Mountain State.

Freeman sought to demonstrate her values as a feminist in different genres of her work, including her short stories. She diverged from making her female characters weak and in need of help, which was a common trope in literature of her time.

Freeman's short story, “The Revolt of Mother,” illustrated the struggles of rural women and the roles they played within their families, and initiated discussion on the rights of rural woman. Its influence inspired many more pieces that addressed the lack of control rural woman had over family finances and sought to improve the structure of farm families in the early 20th century.

Brent L. Kendrick, Ph.D., is widely known for his scholarly work on Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and is the editor of The Infant Sphinx: Collected Letters of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, praised by The Journal of Modern Literature as “(1)the most complete record to date of Freeman's life as writer and woman.” This lecture is presented in partnership with the Brattleboro Literary Festival.

The program is free and open to the public and is accessible to people in wheelchairs. For more information, visit or call 802-254-5290.

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