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Cary, Alice

Mount Healthy

Born: April 26, 1820

Ohio connection: Birth

Alice Cary was born in 1820 in Mt. Healthy, Ohio, the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Jessup Cary. She was the fourth of eleven children and a sister of author Phoebe Cary. She had a very difficult childhood, with much sorrow and loss in her family. She developed a great love of reading in her childhood. Her first poem, “The Child of Sorrows”, appeared in 1838, when she was eighteen years old; however, it was not until 1847 that she was paid for her works. Her poetry began to appear in journals such as Ladies’ Repository and Graham’s Magazine. In 1850 Cary and her sister Phoebe published their first joint volume, Poems by Alice and Phoebe Cary. During that year, Alice Cary moved to New York City, possibly with the idea that her writing career could advance more effectively in New York, which was emerging as a major literary center. She began writing regularly for Ladies’ Repository. From 1858 until her death in 1871, her works appeared in Atlantic Monthly. In 1851, Cary’s sisters Phoebe and Elmina joined her in New York, where they lived and wrote together. While in New York, Alice began to write of memories of Ohio country life and some of the personal sorrows she experienced during the time she lived there. Her first story collection was Clovernook, or, Recollections of Our Neighborhood in the West, followed by Clovernook Sketches and Other Stories. Pictures of Country Life appeared in 1859. Alice Cary died at age 50 at her home in New York City on February 12, 1871.