Sarah J. Hale, ed. Woman’s
Record (1853), p. 615; also 1855 ed.
CARY (1820 – 1871)
Alice Cary was born in Hamilton County,
Ohio – then considered the western
frontier of the United
States – and though she descended
from a highly literate family, she received little formal education. After
her mother's death in 1835, Alice Cary's father moved away with his second
wife, who disapproved of his daughters' literary aspirations.
Alice and her younger sister Phoebe began submitting their
poems to newspapers as young women, and their work appeared frequently in
periodicals around the country. The success of The Poems of Alice and Phoebe Cary (1850) prompted the
elder sister to move to New York
to make a career of writing; Phoebe soon joined her there. Alice's prolific publication in numerous
magazines, as well as the tremendous popularity of her short story collection
Clovernook, or Recollections of Our
Neighborhood in the West (1852), supported the sisters
comfortably. Together they bought a house in which they hosted salon-style
receptions for the city's literary and artistic notables.
sisters were abolitionists and suffragists, though they rarely spoke publicly
on these issues. While Alice Cary briefly took over the presidency of
Sorosis, a New York
women's club, she maintained that a woman should feel most satisfied in her
role as a wife and mother (she was neither). Her fiction, in its realistic
depictions of the West, constitutes some of the first American
Another portrait appears in:
The Ladies’ Repository (August, 1855), plate preceding p. 449.