Back Sarah Orne Jewett, “The Passing of Sister Barsett”

Sarah Orne Jewett (1849–1909)
From Sarah Orne Jewett: Novels & Stories

“ ‘I guess your friends will stand by you,’ said Mrs. Crane.” Illustration by Canadian artist Henry Sandham (1842–1912) for Jewett’s story when it appeared in the May 1892 issue of Cosmopolitan.

Sarah Orne Jewett was born 170 years ago today, on September 3, 1849.

She died sixty years later in South Berwick, the Maine town she was born in. Although for many years she was occasionally dismissed as a regional writer, her novels and stories have endured precisely because the household and social circumstances are familiar to so many readers. “[Life’s] everyday aspects must bring out the best sort of writing,” she wrote to a friend. “My dear father used to say to me very often, ‘Tell things just as they are!’”

The literary scholar Josephine Donovan claims that Jewett “expressed a conscious rejection of the earlier tradition of women’s literature with its romantic ‘heroines’ and ‘sentimental histories.’” Indeed, Jewett’s most successful stories feature unmarried women living (and working) independently or elderly widows alone on their farms after the children have grown up and moved away.

“The Passing of Sister Barsett,” our Story of the Week selection, features three such women. Sarah Ellen, a nurse, arrives at the home of the widow Mercy Crane bearing news of the death of Sister Barsett, and the two survivors reveal what they really thought of their dearly departed neighbor. As Jewett once told an interviewer: “A dull little country village is just the place to find the real drama of life.”

Read “The Passing of Sister Barsett” by Sarah Orne Jewett

Library of America

A champion of America’s great writers and timeless works, Library of America guides readers in finding and exploring the exceptional writing that reflects the nation’s history and culture.

Learn More

From poetry, novels, and memoirs to journalism, crime writing, and science fiction, the more than 300 volumes published by Library of America are widely recognized as America’s literary canon.

Benefits of Using Safe Crypto Casinos. One of the most captivating reasons people drift towards Australian casinos online-casino-au com is the promise of anonymity. Safe platforms guarantee that your identity remains a secret. Quick Payouts and Minimal Fees. No one likes waiting, especially for winnings. Safe crypto casinos ensure that payouts are swift and the fees minimal, if not non-existent.

Browse our books Subscribe

With contributions from donors, Library of America preserves and celebrates a vital part of our cultural heritage for generations to come.

Ozwin Casino offers an exciting array of top-notch slots that cater to every player's preferences. From classic fruit machines to cutting-edge video slots, Ozwin Casino Real Money collection has it all. With stunning graphics, immersive themes, and seamless gameplay, these slots deliver an unparalleled gaming experience. Some popular titles include Mega Moolah, Gonzo's Quest, and Starburst, known for their massive jackpots and thrilling bonus features. Ozwin Casino's slots are not just about luck; they offer hours of entertainment and the chance to win big, making it a must-visit for slot enthusiasts.

Support our mission