Anne Bradstreet day is a national celebration of the poet Anne Bradstreet, the first woman to publish her work in England’s North American colonies.
Bradstreet was born in 1612 in Northampton, England, to a wealthy Puritan family. She did not attend school and received her education from her father, who taught her literature, history, and various languages. At 16, she married Simon Bradstreet, and two years later, the couple, together with her parents and other Puritans, sailed to the New World. In 1630, they arrived in Salem, Massachusetts, and frequently moved around the new Massachusetts Bay Colony before settling in North Andover.
Between 1633 and 1652, Bradstreet had eight children. While raising her children, managing the household, and hosting the political gatherings of her father and husband, she found time to express her thoughts and feelings in poetry. In her writings, she addressed a range of topics, from the craft of writing and being a female writer to issues of society, beauty, the Puritan faith, and death, as can be seen in her 1932 poem Upon a Fit of Sickness, in which she speaks of the shortness of life, hope, and salvation.
In 1647, her brother-in-law took her poems to England, and in 1650 they were published in a collection titled The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America. The 38 years old Bradstreet became the first Englishwoman poet to be published in the North American colonies. The book was popular in Britain and the colonies, and she continued to write and publish poems until she died on September 16th, 1672, at the age of 60. Five years later, an expanded American edition of the book was published, and in 1867 a scholarly edited edition was published by John Harvard Ellis.
Bradstreet is known for being one of the early English poets of North America and the first Puritan writer in American Literature.
Anne Bradstreet Day is celebrated annually on September 16th, the day she died. The day is an opportunity to acknowledge the pioneering poet and commemorate her life and work. To join the celebrations, you can participate in various events held in her honor in North Andover, Massachusetts, read her work and biography, donate to the Friends of Anne Bradstreet, and share your thoughts on social media using #AnneBradstreetDay.
A depicted portrait of her by Edmund H. Garrett from the 19th century and Memorial marker in the Old North Parish Burial Ground, North Andover, MA.
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