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Mary E. Wilkins Freeman

Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman was an American novelist (October 1852 – March 1930) and short story writer. The majority of her writing focused on New England life, a subject which she captured masterfully in her subtle and sublime short story A New England Nun.
She was educated at Mount Holyoke Female Seminar (now Mount Holyoke College) and spent much of her life in Massachusetts and Vermont. She produced over two dozen short stories and novels including two superb short story collections, A Humble Romance and Other Stories (1887) and A New England Nun and Other Stories (1891) .
For me, personally, discovering the works of Mary Freeman has been an absolute delight. I am rather disappointed that I majored in English at an Ivy League school where I took classes in American Literature and yet I never heard her name mentioned one single time! She is a fantastic writer that should be better known to modern audiences and I encourage anyone reading this page to take the time to explore her canon. She wrote with great range; producing charming children’s stories like The Christmas Masquerade ; playful poems in Once Upon a Time and Other Child-Verses; ghost stories including the haunting Luella Miller (a story that stayed in my head for weeks after I read it); and feminist themed pieces like A New England Nun . All of those stories have depth! She is a brilliant writer that deserves attention from modern readers.
In April 1926, Freeman was honored by the American Academy of Arts and Letters when she became the first recipient of the William Dean Howells Medal for Distinction in Fiction.
Much of Freeman’s broad range of works exemplifies Realism. She is featured in our Feminist Literature Study Guide and Featured Women Writers


  • Pembroke
  • The Adventures of Ann
  • The Jamesons
  • Poems

  • Once Upon a Time
  • The Brownie’s Xmas
  • The Christmas Ball
  • The Snowflake Tree
  • Short Stories

  • A Conflict Ended
  • A Conquest of Humility
  • A Gala Dress
  • A Gentle Ghost
  • A Humble Romance
  • A New England Nun
  • A New England Prophet
  • Ann Mary; Her Two Thanksgivings
  • A Slayer of Serpents
  • A Solitary
  • A Stolen Christmas
  • A Village Singer
  • Big Sister Sally
  • Billy and Susy
  • Both Cheeks
  • Christmas Jenny
  • Coronation
  • Daniel and Little Dan’l
  • Dear Annie
  • Gentian
  • How Fidelia Went to the Store
  • Jimmy Scarecrow’s Christmas
  • Johnny-in-the-Woods
  • Little-Girl-Afraid-of-a-Dog
  • Little Lucy Rose
  • Luella Miller
  • Noblesse
  • Old Woman Magoun
  • One Good Time
  • Sarah Edgewater
  • Thankful
  • The Amethyst Comb
  • The Apple Tree
  • The Balking of Christopher
  • The Butterfly
  • The Cat
  • The Christmas Ghost
  • The Christmas Masquerade
  • The Christmas Monks
  • The Cock of the Walk
  • The Copy-Cat
  • The Cow with Golden Horns
  • The Gold
  • The Gospel According To Joan
  • The Green Door
  • The Jade Bracelet
  • The Joy of Youth
  • The Last Gift
  • The Lost Ghost
  • The Old-Maid Aunt
  • The Outside of the House
  • The Pot of Gold
  • The Revolt of “Mother”
  • The Shadows on the Wall
  • The Southwest Chamber
  • The Umbrella Man
  • The Vacant Lot
  • The Wind in the Rose-Bush
  • Two Old Lovers
  • Young Lucretia