Woman of the Century/Alice Cary
CARY, Miss Alice, poet, born near Cincinnati, Ohio, in April, 1820, died in New York City, lath February, 1871. The family to which she belonged claimed kindred with Sir Robert Cary, who was a doughty knight in the reign of Henry V of England, and with Walter Cary, who fled with the Huguenots from France to Fngland after the revocation by Louis XIV of the Edict of Nantes. His son Walter, educated in Cambridge, came to the Colonies soon after the landing of the Mayflower and settled in Bridgewater. Mass., only sixteen miles from Plymouth Rock. He then opened a grammar school, probably the first one in America. He was the father of seven sons. One of the seven, John, settled in Windham. Conn., and of his five sons, the youngest. Samuel, was the great-grandfather of Alice and Phoebe Cary. Samuel was graduated from Yale College, studied medicine and practiced in Lyme. His son, Christopher, at the age of eighteen entered the Revolutionary army. After peace was declared, Christopher received a land grant, or warrant, and settled in Hamilton county, Ohio. His son, Robert, was the father of the famous Cary Sisters, and of several other children, all of whom were persons of poetic temperament and fine intellectual powers. Alice Cary began to show her poetical talent at an early age. She wrote poetry when she was eighteen, much of which was published. Her mother, a woman of English descent, died in 1835, and her father married a second time and maintained a separate home near the cottage in which Alice, Phoebe and Elmira lived. In 1850 Alice and Phoebe decided to remove to New York City. They had won a literary reputation, and they had means to carry out their ambitious projects. Alice made her first literary venture in a volume of poems, the work of herself and her sister Phoebe, which was published in Philadelphia in 1850. Its favorable reception had much to do in causing the sisters to leave "Clovernook" and settle in New York. In 1851 Alice brought out the first series of her "Clovernook Papers," prose sketches of character, which won immediate success. Several large editions were sold in the United States and Great Britain. A second series, issued in 1853 was equally successful. In 1854 she published "The Clovernook Children," a juvenile work, which was very successful. Alice published her first volume of verse in 1853, entitled "Lyra and Other Poems." It met with ready sale, and a second and enlarged edition was published in 1855. which contained "The Maiden of Tlascala," a long narrative poem. Her first novel, "Hagar," published as a serial in the Cincinnati "Commercial," was issued in a volume in 1852. Another novel, "Married, not Mated." appeared in 1856, and her last novel, "The Bishop's Son," was published in 1867. Her ALICE CARY. "Pictures of Country Life appeared in 1859. Alice Cary contributed many articles to "Harper's Magazine," to the "Atlantic Monthly," to the New York "Ledger" and the "Independent." In those periodicals she published her earlier stories as serials. Her latest volumes were "Lyrics and Hymns" (1866), "The Lover's Diary" and "Snow Berries, a Book for Young Folks" (1867). Miss Cary and her sister entertained many prominent persons of their day in their New York home, among whom were Horace Greeley, John Greenleaf Whittier, Bayard Taylor and his wife, Mrs. Croly, Miss Anna K. Dickinson, Madame Le Vert, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Mrs. Mary E. Dodge and others. Her home was a social and literary center. When Sorosis was formed, she became its first president. She was an invalid for several years before her death, and was tenderly cared for by her stronger sister. She is to-day more generally remembered by her poems than for her numerous and valuable prose works. The one romance of Alice Cary’s life is told in the story of an engagement, in her early days of poverty and obscurity, to a young man who was forced by his family to break his plighted troth. Her poems reflect the sadness of her temperament that was supposed to have been influenced by that occurrence. She was a Universalist, and her religion was summed up in the simple creed of serving humanity, doing good and blessing the race.