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Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

About the Story

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

Educator and children’s author Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856-1923) was born in Philadelphia. After her father died, Wiggin’s family moved to Portland and then to the small village of Hollis, Maine. Wiggin devoted her life to educating children, who were commonly viewed as a source of cheap labor. In 1878, Wiggin started the first free kindergarten in San Francisco. Wiggin and her sister worked to establish more than 60 kindergartens for poor children in the San Francisco and Oakland area. When Wiggin married, she had to resign from her teaching job, as was custom for women to do so at that time. The couple moved from California to New York, where Wiggin began writing books for children. Though Wiggin had no children of her own, she published several children’s novels during her lifetime. Today, she is best known for her 1903 children’s classic Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. At 66, Wiggin died from pneumonia and requested that her ashes be scattered over the Saco River in Maine.