Bradstreet, Anne (Dudley), c.1612–1672, early American poet, b. Northampton, England, considered the first significant woman author in the American colonies. She came to Massachusetts in the Winthrop Puritan group in 1630 with her father, Thomas Dudley, and her husband, Simon Bradstreet, both later governors of the state. A dutiful Puritan wife who raised a large family, she nevertheless found time to write poetry. In 1650 her first volume of verse appeared in London as The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America. It was followed by Several Poems (Boston, 1678), which contains “Contemplations,” probably her best work. Her verses are often derivative and formal, but some are graced by realistic simplicity and genuine feeling.
See her works ed. by J. Hensley (1967, repr. 1981) and by J. R. McElrath et al. (1981); biographies by E. W. White (1971) and C. Gordon (2005); P. Crowell and A. Stanford, ed., Critical Essays on Anne Bradstreet (1983).
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