Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930) was born in Randolph Massachusetts and died in Metuchen, New Jersey. She spent her whole life in the New England area, and her works reflect the mindset of New England people of the time. Along with her novels, both short works and longer ones, she is probably more well-known for her short stories and story collections, and ghost stories, which seems to me to be a favorite with New England writiers, perhaps partly because of the whole Salem witch trial thing. In addition, she also wrote children's verse and stories. But her main interest, or of what she sought recognition, was as a feminist writer, particularly portraying the plight of rural women. The Revolt of "Mother" is one of her best-known short stories, where a woman takes a stand against the iron hand of her husband.

Freeman herself was an only child, I believe, and did not bear any children. She was also bisexual, and remained single, supporting herself with her writing after her father died and left only a small inheritance. In 1892, she met Dr. Charles Manning Freeman, and married him at age 49, when she officially changed her name from Wilkins to Wilkins Freeman. He was a bad choice, however, an example of all the worst in men: an alcoholic, drug addict, gambler, and womanizer, who was eventually admitted to the New Jersey State Hospital for the Insane, in Trenton. When he died, he left her one dollar, and the rest went to his chauffeur. Still, Wilkins Freeman continued her successful life as a writer, and died of a heart attack at age 77.

I would by no means call her a great writer, but her books and stories are fun and entertaining and easy to read. Project Gutenberg has a great many of them, and she was very prolific, so this index will continue to grow. In addition to her novels and stories, many of her short stories also appear in multi-author collections that I own, from Dover Publications. So here they are, and I hope you check out these fun stories, or read them to your children and grandchildren.

Novels and Novelettes

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Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

The Butterfly House

Children's Stories and Verse

Wilkins Freeman's home, rare postcard

The Green Door

Story Collections

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The Revolt of "Mother" and Other Stories

Stories Found in Multi-Author Collections

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The Lost Ghost
Classic Ghost Stories by Wilkie Collins. . . and Others

The Shadows on the Wall
Great American Ghost Stories: Chilling Tales by Poe, Bierce, Hawthorne and Others

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