- NAME: Grace Greenwood
- OCCUPATION: Journalist, Author, Poet
- BIRTH DATE: September 23, 1823
- DEATH DATE: April 20, 1904
- Did You Know?: In 1853, Greenwood and her husband published what was reportedly the first U.S. magazine for children.
- EDUCATION: Greenwood Institute, Rochester High School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Pompey, New York
- PLACE OF DEATH: New Rochelle, New York
- Originally: Sara Jane Clarke
- AKA: Grace Greenwood
- AKA: Sara Jane Lippincott
- AKA: Sara J. Clarke
- AKA: Mrs. Leander Lippincott
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Grace Greenwood was a 19th century poet, journalist and activist who championed many progressive causes while creating a path for women in news media.
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Born on September 23, 1823, in Pompey, New York, Grace Greenwood became a popular poet, children's scribe and journalist who was The New York Times' first female writer. She was a staunch abolitionist and champion of women's rights, actively hitting the lecture circuit, and lived in Europe for a time. The author of many books, including a biography of Queen Victoria, Greenwood died on April 20, 1904.
"Queen-making is not a light task. It is no fancywork for idle hours. It is the first difficult draft of a chapter, perhaps a whole volume, of national history."
"…the noble band of Abolitionists have almost overwhelmed me with unnumbered kindnesses—They have warmly extended to me the right hand of fellowship and have brought all their rich and beautiful things forward to glad the sight of her who had been blind…"
"The vast view from Glacier Point is the despair of poetry and art. Certainly its grandeur can never be compassed by the grandest sweep of human language. Its divine loveliness floats forever before the mind—in smiling, radiant defiance."
Writer Grace Greenwood was born Sara Jane Clarke on September 23, 1823, in Pompey, New York. Clarke and her family eventually relocated to New Brighton, Pennsylvania, where she attended the women's school the Greenwood Institute, which may have been the inspiration for her future author alias.
She earned recognition in her early 20s for the poetry she published in publications. She became a sought-after scribe and would write under both her pseudonym and her birth name, becoming a regular contributor to some of the top papers of the day. She also became known for her children's fiction, including later stories like "Bessie Raeburn's Christmas Adventure" and "The Drummer-Boy."
Greenwood was a firm believer in abolitionism. In the mid-19th century she was fired from writing for Louis A. Godey's magazine Godey's Lady's Book for expressing her antislavery beliefs in The National Era, a weekly that later published Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Progressive politics had nonetheless found another champion, as Greenwood would also come to speak on prison reform and ending the death penalty as well as Native American and women's rights.
Traveling to Europe in 1852, Greenwood became the first woman reporter to work for The New York Times, providing overseas dispatches. Then in the fall of 1853 Greenwood married Leander K. Lippincott; the couple went on to have a daughter, Annie Grace. In the same year as their wedding, Greenwood and her husband became the creators of The Little Pilgrim, heralded as the first U.S. magazine for children. It had a successful run until its publishing fortunes were altered by the Civil War.
During the war, Greenwood spoke regularly to Union troops and was active in raising funds for supplementary medical care services in the form of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, with President Abraham Lincoln singling out the writer for her dedication.
Greenwood, who was also an advocate of fair pay for writers, resumed work for The New York Times during the 1870s, this time writing about the American West, the Yosemite Valley and environmentalist John Muir. She also produced articles for Ladies' Home Journal and the New York Independent, among other publications.
Greenwood's marriage ultimately dissolved due to her husband's extramarital affairs and his leaving the country to avoid a land fraud trial during the mid-1870s. She thus supported herself and her daughter on her own, with the two moving to Europe in the early 1880s and remaining there for several years.
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