Sarah Orne Jewett
Sarah Orne Jewett (1849 – 1909) was an American novelist and short story writer born into an old New England family in the coastal town of South Berwick, Maine. Drawing from her native region, she became famous for her stories highlighting small-town life, often set on the Maine seacoast. Jewett’s most acclaimed work is her collection of stories, The Country of the Pointed Firs, published in 1896. Jewett was first published at the age of 19 with her short story, Mr. Bruce, in the Atlantic Monthly. As a “local color” writer, she often emphasized people and place over the plot. Speaking in praise of her novel, The Country of the Pointed Firs, none other than the esteemed Henry James declared it a “beautiful little quantum of achievement.” It is structured as a collection of inter-related short stories about people in a small town, similar to Sherwood Anderson’s remarkable Winesburg, Ohio. Jewett established a close relationship with the writer Annie Fields and her husband James Thomas Fields, the publisher and editor of the Atlantic Monthly. When James died suddenly, Anne and Sarah began to live together in what was called a “Boston Marriage” — a term used at the time to describe two women living together, independent of the financial support of men. An unfortunate carriage accident ended her career in 1902. A series of strokes, one in March and one in June, ended her life in 1909.