Book: Kate Douglas Wiggin «Penelope's English Experiences»

Penelope's English Experiences

I get on charmingly with the English nobility and sufficiently well with the gentry, but the upper servants strike terror to my soul. There is something awe-inspiring to me about an English butler. -from Chapter II Penelope Hamilton is a young American lady, genteelly poor, abroad in England with her friends Francesca, who is young and flighty, and Salemina, a sophisticated gentlewoman. Together they explore the British way of life, from the bustling Saturday-night street markets and the polite fiction of privacy courting couples enjoy on park strolls to elegant balls at which young ladies make their social debuts to the cheery innkeepers who take the travelers under their wing. First published in 1900, this is a long-forgotten classic from one of the most beloved authors of young adult fiction... the kind that adults enjoy even more than children do. Brew a pot of tea and settle in for a delightful read. American author and educator KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN (1856-1923) was born in...

Издательство: "Книга по Требованию" (2005)

ISBN: 9781596055391

Kate Douglas Wiggin

Kate Douglas Wiggin

Kate Douglas Wiggin
Born Kate Douglas Smith
September 28, 1856(1856-09-28)
Died August 24, 1923(1923-08-24) (aged 66)
Harrow, Middlesex, England
Nationality American
Alma mater Gorham Female Seminary
Morison Academy (Baltimore)
Occupation Author
Spouse Bradley Wiggin, George Christopher Riggs

Kate Douglas Wiggin (September 28, 1856–August 24, 1923) was an American educator and author of children's stories, most notably the classic children's novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. She started the first free kindergarten in San Francisco in 1878 (the Silver Street Free Kindergarten). With her sister during the 1880s, she also established a training school for kindergarten teachers. Kate Wiggin devoted her adult life to the welfare of children in an era when children were commonly thought of as cheap labour.



Early life

Kate Douglas Smith Wiggin was born in Philadelphia, the daughter of lawyer Robert N. Smith, and of Welsh descent.[1][2] Kate herself experienced a happy childhood, even though it was saddened by the American Civil War and her father's death. Kate and her sister Nora were still quite young when their widowed mother moved her little family from Philadelphia to Portland, Maine, then, three years later, upon her remarriage, to the little village of Hollis. There Kate matured in rural surroundings, with her sister and her new baby brother, Philip.


Kate Douglas Wiggin in her early career.

Her education was spotty, consisting of a short stint at a "dame school", some home schooling under the "capable, slightly impatient, somewhat sporadic" instruction of Albion Bradbury (her stepfather), a brief spell at the district school, a year as a boarder at the Gorham Female Seminary, a winter term at Morison Academy in Baltimore, Maryland, and a few months' stay at Abbot Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, where she graduated with the class of 1873. Although rather casual, this was more education than most women received at the time.

Early career

During 1873, hoping to ease Albion Bradbury's lung disease, Kate's family relocated to Santa Barbara, California, where Kate's stepfather died three years later. A kindergarten training class was opening in Los Angeles under Emma Marwedel (1818-1893),[2][3] and Kate enrolled. After graduation, in 1878, she headed the first free kindergarten in California, on Silver Street in the slums of San Francisco. The children were "street Arabs of the wildest type", but Kate had a loving personality and dramatic flair. By 1880 she was forming a teacher-training school in conjunction with the Silver Street kindergarten.

Marriage and first writings

Cover of The Romance of a Christmas Card (1916)

In 1881, Kate married (Samuel) Bradley Wiggin, a San Francisco lawyer.[2] According to the customs of the time, she was required to resign her teaching job.[4] Still devoted to her school, she began to raise money for it through writing, first The Story of Patsy (1883), then The Birds' Christmas Carol (1887). Both privately printed books were issued commercially by Houghton Mifflin in 1889, with enormous success.

Ironically, considering her intense love of children, Kate Wiggin had none. She moved to New York City in 1888.[2] When her husband died suddenly during 1889, Kate relocated to Maine. For the rest of her life she grieved, but she also traveled as frequently as she could, dividing her time between writing, visits to Europe, and giving public reading for the benefit of various children's charities.

Second marriage, scholarly works, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Kate Douglas Wiggin House in the Salmon Falls section of Hollis, Maine

During 1895 Kate Wiggin married a New York City businessman, George Christopher Riggs, who became her staunch supporter as her success increased. Her literary output included popular books for adults; with her sister, Nora A. Smith, she published scholarly work on the educational principles of Friedrich Froebel: Froebel's Gifts (1895), Froebel's Occupations (1896), and Kindergarten Principles and Practice (1896);[2] and she wrote the classic children's novel Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903), as well as the 1905 best-seller Rose o' the River. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm became an immediate bestseller; both it and Mother Carey's Chickens (1911) were adapted to drama. Houghton Mifflin collected her writings in ten volumes in 1917.

For a time, she lived at Quillcote, her summer home in Hollis, Maine. Quillcote is around the corner from the town's library, the Salmon Falls Library, which Wiggin founded in 1911.[5] Wiggin founded the Dorcas Society of Hollis & Buxton, Maine in 1897. The Tory Hill Meeting House in the adjacent town of Buxton inspired her book (and later play), The Old Peabody Pew (1907).

Later life and death

During 1921, Wiggin and her sister Nora Archibald Smith edited an edition of Jane Porter's 1809 novel of William Wallace, The Scottish Chiefs, for the Scribner's Illustrated Classics series, which was illustrated by N. C. Wyeth.[6] During the spring of 1923 Kate Wiggin traveled to England as a New York delegate to the Dickens Fellowship. There she became ill and died, at age 66, of bronchial pneumonia. At her request, her ashes were brought home to Maine and scattered over the Saco River. Her autobiography, My Garden of Memory, was published after her death.

Wiggin was also a songwriter and composer of music. For "Kindergarten Chimes" (1885) she created some of the lyrics, music, and arrangements. For "Nine Love Songs and a Carol" (1896) she created all of the music.

Selected works


  1. ^ Welsh Americans at
  2. ^  "Wiggin, Kate Douglas". New International Encyclopedia. 1905. 
  3. ^ "Emma Marwedel, 1818-1893 : pioneer of the kindergarten in California". Retrieved 24 March 2011. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ My Garden of Memory, pp.365–366
  6. ^ Porter, Jane. The Scottish Chiefs, Scribner's Illustrated Classic series, reissued 1991, ISBN 068419340X, dust jacket copy

External links

Источник: Kate Douglas Wiggin

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