TTLG Author/Illustrator Profiles

Mary Mapes Dodge

Mary Mapes Dodge

Mary Mapes was born on January 26, 1831, in New York City. As the daughter of an inventor and scientist, she grew up in an environment where such prominent men as William Cullen Bryant and Horace Greeley were entertained. At 20 she married William Dodge, a lawyer, and they had two sons. To maintain her independence after she was suddenly widowed seven years later, she started writing children's stories. Her first collection, Irvington Stories (1864), centered on the American colonial family. Its success prompted her publisher to request another. The following year Dodge's beloved classic, Hans Brinker: or, The Silver Skates, appeared. The tale of an impoverished Dutch boy whose determination enabled him to obtain help for his sick father went through more than 100 editions during the author's lifetime.

In 1868 Dodge became associate editor of Hearth and Home, with Harriet Beecher Stowe and Donald Grant Mitchell ("Ik Marvel"). In 1873, in the midst of an economic depression, Dodge was asked to become editor of a new publishing venture, the children's magazine St. Nicholas. Its subsequent success stemmed from Dodge's high literary and moral standards. Her editorial excellence enabled St. Nicholas to attract such well-known contemporary writers as Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Lucretia Peabody Hale, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Rudyard Kipling. Dodge died on August 21, 1905, at her summer home in Onteora Park, New York.

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