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Mary Mapes Dodge

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Mary Mapes Dodge (1831-1905) was an American children’s book author born in Newark, New Jersey.

At the age of 28, she became a widow with two young children. Determined to support her family, she began writing children’s stories, which she first read her stories to her own children. In 1865, she published “Hans Brinker”; or “The Silver Skates.” The book was a huge success and is now considered a classic of children’s literature. In 1873, Dodge became the first editor of St. Nicholas Magazine, a popular 19th-century magazine for children. The magazine published renowned authors such as Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett, and Mark Twain.




Gannon, Susan R., and Ruth Anne Thompson. Mary Mapes Dodge. New York: Twayne, 1993. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/474825364 

Roggenbuck, Mary June. 1977. St. Nicholas magazine: a study of the impact and historical influence of the editorship of Mary Mapes Dodge. http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/3235814 

Gannon, Susan R., and Ruth Anne Thompson. “Mr. Scuffer and Mrs. Dodge: An Editorial Correspondence and What It Tells Us.” American Periodicals 2 (1992): 89-99.

Questions to Explore

Why was the “Hans Brinker” a huge success compared to Dodge’s first books?

What are some of the things Dodge wrote about in her children books?

How did Dodge’s children inspire her books? Are there any stories that reference her life or her children? 


Additional Resources

Gannon Susan R Ruth Anne Thompson and Cairns Collection of American Women Writers. 1992. Mary Mapes Dodge. New York Toronto New York: Twayne ; Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; Maxwell Macmillan International.https://www.worldcat.org/title/26160586 

Gannon Susan R Suzanne Rahn and Ruth Anne Thompson. 2004. St. Nicholas and Mary Mapes Dodge : The Legacy of a Children’s Magazine Editor 1873-1905. Jefferson N.C: McFarland.https://www.worldcat.org/title/54479307 

Wright, Catharine Morris, Lady of the Silver Skates: The Life and Correspondence of Mary Mapes Dodge, 1830-1905. Jamestown, R.I.: Clingstone Press, 1979.