Agnes Repplier, a female essayist from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, was born on April 1, 1855. Daughter of John George Repplier and his second wife Agnes Mathias, Agnes Repplier taught herself how to read at the age of ten and grew to be a voracious reader. She attended two schools during her teenage years, but was asked not to return to either school after only a few terms at each due to her independent and rebellious nature. Repplier began writing and publishing stories when she was just twenty years old. At that time she wrote to help support her family after her father lost all his money in a failed business venture. After trying her hand at fiction and poetry, Repplier found her forte in the genre of the short essay.
Eleven years after she began writing, Repplier's essay "Children, Past and Present" was published in The Atlantic Monthly. She published regularly in the magazine until 1940 and successfully published in many other journals as well. She went on to publish twenty collections of essays, five biographical studies, and one book about the history of humor. Once she could afford to travel, Repplier took the opportunity to spend time abroad and write about her experiences. Later in life, Repplier became the recipient of honorary doctor of letters degrees from Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Temple University, and the University of Pennsylvania. Repplier never married, but instead lived with her two older siblings, Mary and Louis. Repplier died on November 15, 1950 at the age of ninety-five.
Its first guns were heard in New York, where a modest periodical, devoted to the training of parents, opened fire upon those time-honored nursery legends which are presumably dear to the hearts of all rightly constituted babies.
If we keep a cat because there are mice in our kitchen or rats in our cellar, what claim have we to gratitude? If we keep a cat for the sake of her beauty, and because our hearth is but a poor affair without her, she repays her debt with interest when she dozes by our fire.
Writers are often so blind to the value of words that they are content with a bare expression of their thoughts, disdaining the "labor of the file," and confident that the phrase first seized is for them the phrase of inspiration.
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.