Craig White's
Literature Courses


Sarah Orne Jewett


exquisite author
of local color / regionalism
& women's communities

Stories by Jewett for American Romanticism: The White Heron & The Town Poor

Sarah Orne Jewett grew up in southern Maine, a rural area that throve on early American shipbuilding but then declined. Her early experiences acquainted her with the region's people and landscape.

Daughter of a country doctor in a long-established family, she accompanied her father on house calls.

Jewett suffered from rheumatoid arthritis; walking therapy acquainted her with the natural world.

At 19 Jewett published her first story in the prestigious Atlantic Monthly magazine. A prolific writer, Jewett wrote more than 20 volumes incl. novels, novellas, short story collections, poetry, and children's literature. 

Visit The Sarah Orne Jewett Text Project at Coe College,Maine.

Jewett is admired as a stylist of the late 19th-century Local Color movement, featuring careful representation of her region's folkways, speech, and environment.
Jewett inspired and influenced later regionalists including Willa Cather (1873-1947), but her life and works are also studied for their subtle early models of feminism and women's communities.

In the 1800s westward migration drew men from New England, leaving towns and countrysides more populated by women, as depicted by Jewett.

In her personal life Jewett was close friends with her Boston publisher James T. Fields and his wife Annie Adams Fields (1834-1
915). After Mr. Fields's death in 1881, Sarah and Annie formed what was then called a "Boston marriage" in which two women kept house.
Jewett family home in South Berwick, Maine, (photo from 1910 postcard)
declared a National Historic Landmark in 1991.