Catalog Number: M238
Agency History / Biographical Note:
Sarah Orne Jewett (1849-1909) grew up in South Berwick, Maine, where she lived all of her life. She studied at Berwick Academy, but her schooling was frequently interrupted due to a delicate disposition. Instead, much of her knowledge came from tutors, immersion in the family library and the long trips she took with her father, Dr. Theodore Herman Jewett (Bowdoin 1834), to visit his patients around Maine. Dr. Jewett taught at Bowdoin College (1867-1869) and was president of the Medical Society of Maine (1877-1878). After his death in 1878, Sarah Orne Jewett developed a close friendship with Annie Adams Fields, with whom she traveled to the West Indies. Later the two women went to Europe, where they met with Alfred Lord Tennyson and Henry James.
Jewett never married, instead focusing her efforts and energies on her writing. She is considered by many to be the prominent voice of a bygone New England sentimentality. Often her stories were first published in the Century, Harper's or Atlantic Monthly. Some of her best-known novels include The Country of the Pointed Firs and A Country Doctor.
In 1901, Sarah Orne Jewett became the first woman to receive an honorary degree from Bowdoin. She spent the last decade of her life as a semi-invalid after a fall from a carriage caused severe back problems.
Scope and Content:
The collection contains correspondence, writings and photographs. The bulk of the correspondence is from Sarah Orne Jewett to family members including her cousins, Alice and Charles; there are also letters from Jewett to the administration of Bowdoin College. The writings include two bound holograph manuscripts, "A Dark Night" and "A Village Patriot" as well as a photocopy of a handwritten verse, "Discontent," written in 1876. Also included are four photographs of Jewett.
Cite as: Sarah Orne Jewett papers, George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, Bowdoin College Library.
Access Restrictions: None.