Mary Abigail Dodge was born in Hamilton, Massachusetts on March 31, 1833, the youngest of seven children. The prosperity of her family allowed her time, even as a young girl, to read and spend leisure time. At the age of two, an accident left her blind in one eye. This experience influenced her self-image greatly; she thought of herself as ugly and was very shy in social situations. She excelled in school, however, and with the encouragement of her parents, pursued opportunities that were just starting to be available for women. Dodge did not anticipate marriage in her future, and she dreamed of being a writer. She worked for four years as a teacher, during which period she began sending her submissions to newspapers and journals. She adopted the pen name, Gail Hamilton, to protect her privacy, which was always very important to her. As Gail Hamilton, Dodge wrote essays, political commentaries, religious works, children's stories, and one failure of a novel. She was an advocate for women's rights, and her life supported her opinion that women were, like men, in charge of their own lives and happiness. In 1895, Dodge experienced a stroke which left her in a coma for seven weeks. Though she recovered, she died the next year, August 17, 1896.
I know that I am but a poor substitute for a canary-bird,--a gross and sorry companion for one of ethereal mould. I can supply seed and water and conch-shells, but what do I know of finchy loves and hopes?
But if you commit this sin against me, I will never forgive you! Or, since that may be unscriptural, I will forgive you just enough to save my own soul, but not enough to be of any use to you.
Patrick Madden's New Book
Quotidiana site founder Patrick Madden has just published a book of his own personal essays, including pieces formerly published in the Best American Spiritual Writing and Best Creative Nonfiction anthologies.
If you enjoy the classical essays on this site, you'll enjoy these contemporary ruminations as well. Soon there'll be a web page here with further information, but for now, you can find out more (and perhaps purchase a copy) at Amazon.com.
"Patrick Madden is an essayist of verve, passion, wit, and dependable moral compass. Quotidiana drew me in powerfully, from page to page and from pleasure to pleasure." —Ian Frazier
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Quotidiana is an online anthology of "classical" essays, from antiquity to the early twentieth century. All essays and images are in the public domain. Commentaries are copyrighted, but may be used with proper attribution. Special thanks to the BYU College of Humanities and English Department for funding, and to Joey Franklin and Lara Burton, for tireless research assisting.