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 Caroline <I>Howard</I> Gilman

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Caroline Howard Gilman

  • Birth 8 Oct 1794 Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
  • Death 15 Sep 1888 Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
  • Burial Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA
  • Memorial ID 36968961

Author, Poet. Caroline was the daughter of Boston shipwright Samuel Howard who was one of the original "Indians" in the Boston Tea Party. Her parents died young and she was raised and educated by her sister Ann Marie White. By 1810 she had begun writing and did it rather secretly since young girls of her age didn't express themselves outwardly. However the same year a Boston newspaper published "Jephthah's Rash Vow" a poem her family had secretly submitted. The sixteen year old later stated she was "as alarmed as if I had been detected in Man's apparel." She married Unitarian pastor Samuel Gilman in 1819, and moved to Charleston, South Carolina six weeks later. From 1832 to 1842, she published the first American weekly journal for young people, "Rose Bud" (later the Southern Rose), which circulated from Massachsetts to Georgia and made her the best-known woman writer of the South. Humorous sketches about the management of a middle-class household and its servants, written for the Rose were published in 1834 as "Recollections of a New England Bride". Also in 1934 the first of her volumes "Recollections of a Housekeeper" humorously described the little vicissitudes of early married life. Gilman attributed its great popularity to the fact that "it was the first attempt, in that particular mode, to enter into the recesses of American homes and hearts." Other publications include "Recollections of a Southern Matron" in 1837, a chapter of which English journalist Harriet Martineau included in her "Society in America" in 1837; "The Lady's Annual Register and Housewife's Memorandum Book, 1838, a manual for housekeepers; "Love Progress in 1840", a domestic novel. Her children book's, included "The Little Wreath of Stories and Poems for Children" 1847, and "Verses of a Lifetime" in 1849 which includes descriptions of Southern landscape, dramatic pieces and romantic ballads. Two unusual contributions are "Oracles from the Poets" in 1845 and "The Sibyl, or New Oracles from the Poets" 1847 in which Gilman adapted extracts from the works of poets as a fortune-telling parlour game. "Oracles for Youth" was published in 1852. Perhaps her most popular work was "The Letters of Eliza Wilkinson during the Invasion of Charleston" which documents the British conquest of Charleston in 1780. Her views on gender were progressive, but her position on slavery was not. Although the Gilman's bought, educated and freed several young black men, she justified slavery in her writing and supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. Her biographer would state that "her prose was of an unaffected and light-hearted character, and her poetry dealt with the beauties of nature and domestic affection, qualities which appealed to the sentiments of the time and which made her one of the most popular women writers of her day". Gilman was reported to be the most famous female author in the South for the quarter century from 1832 to 1857.

Bio by: Saratoga


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Saratoga
  • Added: 11 May 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 36968961
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Caroline Howard Gilman (8 Oct 1794–15 Sep 1888), Find A Grave Memorial no. 36968961, citing Unitarian Church Cemetery, Charleston, Charleston County, South Carolina, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .