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.
(Compiled by Catherine Curtis)