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Mary Wilkins Freeman: film and discussion

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Thursday, September 19, 2019, 07:00pm


Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, 19th Century Brattleboro author, Focus of Words Project September Round Table

Notable award-winning author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, best known for her stories and novels of life in New England villages,  will be featured at the Brattleboro Words Project Round Table discussion on Thursday, September 19, 7 PM, in the Main Room at the Brooks Memorial Library in Brattleboro, Vermont.

A short film produced in 1986 starring Amy Madigan based on Freeman’s  short story, “The Revolt of Mother,”  will be screened at the Library, beginning at 7 PM.,  and will be followed by a  discussion of the themes found in the short story and the film.

“The Revolt of Mother” is Freeman’s best-known story, of the 250 she wrote.  It was included in her 1891 collection, A New England Nun and Other Stories, which contains the stories regarded as her finest short fiction.  Set in mid-19th century rural New England, the story’s central character, Sarah Penn, has long-endured their inadequate farmhouse.  The story begins as Sarah discovers that the men working for her husband in the dooryard are putting in a foundation, not for her new house, but for a fancy new barn.

Several copies of the short story will be available at the library’s circulation desk to read, and one may download a copy of the story at

Born in Randolph, Massachusetts in 1852, Mary E. Wilkins moved to Brattleboro as a teen with  her family in 1867. Her father, Warren,  owned and operated the Wilkins Dry Goods store located on the Steen block approximately where Renaissance Jewelers and the River Gallery are located now on Main St.  While in Brattleboro Mary attended Brattleboro High School, which is now the Brattleboro Municipal Building, and the Glenwood Ladies Seminary in West Brattleboro.  A Vermont State Historic Marker will be dedicated to Mary and Glenwood Ladies Seminary later in the Fall.

As part of the 18th Brattleboro Literary Festival, Brent Kendrick, author of The Collected Letters of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, will discuss Mary’s life in Brattleboro, on Thursday, October, 17, at 7:00 PM, in the Brooks Memorial Library’s Main Reading Room.

Mary E. Wilkins began her writing career in Brattleboro by publishing poems in the newspaper, Vermont Phoenix,  and  in several children’ magazines.  She was a prolific writer who in her fifty-year writing career published twenty-two volumes of short stories, fourteen novels, over fifty uncollected short stories and prose essays, three plays, and one motion picture play.  Both Mark Twain and Rudyard Kipling greatly admired her work. She was a guest of  Kipling at his Dummerston home in 1892.  She married Charles Freeman in 1902.

In 1925 the American Academy of Arts and Letters unanimously award her the first William Dean Howells Medal for distinguished work in fiction.

The film screening is free and open to the public.


Location  Library Main Reading Room
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