History's Women: Misc. Articles: Mary Abigail Dodge (Gail Hamilton), American Authoress and CriticMary Abigail Dodge (Gail Hamilton)
American Authoress and Critic
1838 – 1806 A.D.

“Fanny Fern” wittily writes of Gail Hamilton, “She was brought up as New England girls were generally brought up in the country; simply, healthfully, purely; with plenty of fence for gymnastics; plenty of berries and birds, and flowers and mosses, and clover blossoms and fruit in the sweet, odorous summers; with plenty of romping companions not subjects for early tombstones and obituary notices, but with broad chests, sun-kissed faces and nimble limbs and tongues.”

Her pen name is taken from the last part of “Abigail” and Hamilton, her place of birth.

For several years she was teacher of the physical sciences in the Hartford, Conn., High School. Later she was engaged as a governess in Washington D.C. But all this time she was in training for her work in literary lines. She became a contributor to periodicals and then began to write books. Here are the names of some of them: Country Living and Country Thinking, Gala Days, Wool Gathering, Summer Rest, Woman’s Wrongs, A Counter-Irritant, A Battle of the Books, First Love is Best, What Think Ye of Christ?

She was considered rather severe in her criticism of the male sex. Her trenchant wit sometimes made them wince. For example: “Man is a thief and holds the bag, and if women do not like what they get, so much the better. They will be all more willing to become household drudges.” “Some men dole out money to their wives as if it were a gift, a charity. A man has no more right to his earnings than his wife has. What absurdity, to pay him his wages and give her money to go shopping with!” “She does not lock up the dinner in the cupboard and then stand at the door and dole it out to him by the pailful, but sets it on the table for him to help himself * * * so looking at the matter from the very lowest standpoint, a woman who has free access to money will not be half so likely to lavish it, as the woman who is put off with scanty infrequent sums.”


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.

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