University of New England - Innovation for a Healthier Planet

Charlotte Perkins Gilman collection, 1880–2001

Full finding aid (pdf)

Collection Scope and Content

This collection includes correspondence, trade cards designed by Gilman and articles.

Biographical/Historical Note

Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born in 1860 in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1884 she married Charles Arthur Stetson and less than a year later gave birth to their only daughter. They separated in 1888, due to her depression. Gilman moved with her daughter to California where she became active in social reform and began writing and lecturing. Her most famous piece is The Yellow Wallpaper, written in 1890 and published in 1892. She published her first volume of poetry, In This Our World, in 1893. She wrote short stories, poetry, drama and novels as well as non-fiction. In 1894, Gilman and Stetson officially divorced and she sent her daughter to live with Stetson and his new wife, a close friend of Gilman’s, Grace Ellery Channing. Gilman eventually moved back east and married a cousin, Houghton Gilman, in 1900. They lived in New York City until 1922, at which point the couple moved back to Houghton’s Connecticut homestead. Following his sudden death in 1934, Gilman moved back to California, where her daughter still resided. In 1932, Gilman was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer. An advocate of euthanasia for the terminally ill, she took her own life in 1935 by overdosing on chloroform.