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The Literature of Prescription




The Author's Life

Black and white photograph of a Charlotte Perkins at the age of fourteen.

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Charlotte Perkins at the age of fourteen, 1874

Charlotte Anna Perkins was born on July 3, 1860
in Hartford, Connecticut. Soon after her birth, her
father Frederick left the family. Charlotte, her
mother Mary, and brother Thomas were forced to
move every year, as they struggled to manage on
the limited funds he provided while the children
were growing up. Following the example of her
mother's determination to cope with these
circumstances, Charlotte sought independence
early in life.

flowers

Courtesy Schlesinger Library,
Radcliffe Institute,
Harvard University


Charlotte's home while studying at the Rhode Island School of Design, 1870s



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Black and white photograph of a large house on a corner lot with a picket fence along the yard.

Courtesy Schlesinger Library,
Radcliffe Institute,
Harvard University



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Rhode Island School of Design, 1890s

Illustration of the inside of an art classroom, with statuary along the wall, with a woman drawing while seated at a table.

Courtesy Rhode Island School of Design
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Charles Walter Stetson,
Charlotte's first husband, 1880

Charlotte was a creative child and began writing
and drawing at an early age. In 1878 she
enrolled at the Rhode Island School of Design
to study art. When she was twenty-one,
she met the artist Walter Stetson. Although
she initially rebuffed his proposal, they
married in 1884.


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Black and white photograph of Charles Stetson, wearing a suit.

Courtesy Schlesinger Library,
Radcliffe Institute,
Harvard University



Charlotte's daughter,
Katharine Stetson, 1887

A year later, the couple had a daughter,
Katharine Beecher Stetson. After her
birth, Charlotte began to experience
episodes of depression. She resented
the narrow confines of married life
and motherhood, and like many other
women of her era, longed for greater
intellectual and creative fulfillment.
Her husband, however, insisted on a more
traditional marriage, and she became
increasingly despondent.


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Black and white photograph of a girl about 2 years old, Katharine Stetson.

flourish

Courtesy Schlesinger Library,
Radcliffe Institute,
Harvard University


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