tention. An 1872 article in The Nation casts her as one of the three "most eagerly sought" (335) writers in a suburban Boston library, along with Harriet Beecher Stowe and Louisa May Alcott, with We Girls as a particular favorite. Faith Gartney's Girlhood was a national best-seller in 1863, selling upwards of 300,000 copies ( Mott309).
The popular press is mainly laudatory of Whitney's works, finding virtue in her female characters' demure qualities, which, perhaps, are the aspects of her novels most troubling to twentieth-century readers (especially feminists). The New York Times in 1896 praises the entire corpus of Whitney's novels for girls, comparing her work to those writers better known to us today: "Her books were as dear [to her readers] as Miss Edgeworth and Miss Sedgwick were to her-- nay dearer, for they are full of the rich spiritual life. . . . We can imagine no better friends for girls than her Faiths, Says, Leslies, Barbaras. . . . We are at times distinctly conscious of a lack of fineness of fibre in Miss Alcott's girls, never in Miss Whitney's. . . . Miss Whitney's [characters] charm us by that sensitive withdrawal, that modest withholding we should like to see in our own girls" ( "Mrs. Whitney's Letters"3). Whitney, however, does suffer under the critical eye of Henry James, who reviewed The Gayworthys for the North American Review, criticizing Whitney's use of a young female character as a "degradation of sentiment." However, even James found in Whitney "much that is admirable and much that is powerful" (621-622).
"The Experience of a Public Library." The Nation 14 ( May 23, 1872): 334-335.
Field, Elinor Whitney. "The Neighborhood Stories of Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney." The Horn Book 29, no. 3 ( June 1953): 175-189.
Habegger, Alfred. Gender, Fantasy, and Realism in American Literature. New York: Columbia University Press, 1982.
Halsey, Francis Whiting. "Mrs. A. D. T. Whitney." In Women Authors of Our Day in Their Homes. New York: James Pott, 1903.
James, Henry. Review of The Gayworthys. North American Review, no. 109 ( October 1865): 619-622.
Mott, Frank Luther. Golden Multitudes: The Story of Best Sellers in the United States. New York: Macmillan, 1947.
"Mrs. Whitney's Letters to Girls." The New York Times Saturday Review of Books and Art, 19 December 1896, 2-3.
"New Novels: Works by Marion Crawford, Mrs. Crockett, Blanche Willis Howard, Mrs. Whitney, and Margaret Sherwood." The New York Times Saturday Review of Books and Art, November 4, 1899, 740-741.
Footsteps on the Seas: A Poem. Boston: Crosby, Nichols, and Co., 1857.
Mother Goose for Grown Folks. New York: Rudd and Carleton, 1860.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: Nineteenth-Century American Women Writers:A Bio-Bibliographical Critical Sourcebook. Contributors: Denise D. Knight - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 477.
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