Born in New York City, the oldest of eleven children, Caroline Kirkland was educated in Quaker schools for over ten years, exposing her to the social philosophies of the Quakers. She worked as a teacher herself, helping to support her family after her father died, before she met her husband, William Kirkland, who was a tutor at Hamilton College in upstate New York. After moving to Michigan to run the Detroit Female Seminary in 1835, the Kirklands purchased land northwest of Detroit. It was the Kirkland’s experience on the frontier that precipitated the creation of A New Home, Caroline Kirkland’s first book. The book, published in 1839 under the pseudonym Mrs. Mary Clavers, was praised for its realism, though some of her neighbors were not happy with their portrayal. She published two other books about frontier life, Western Clearings and Forest Life. After returning to New York City in 1843, Kirkland began teaching again and worked as an editor for the Christian Inquirer and The Union Magazine of Literature and Art. Her writing, which was often satirical, offered social criticism on topics ranging from women’s rights and education to prison reform and social class. She was praised by Edgar Allen Poe, who said she was “unquestionably…one of our best writers.” (Linda Spekhals)
I have heard a good old lady exclaim against such contrivances altogether, saying that if you kill one fly, ten will be sure to come to his funeral.
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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.