Author Mary E. Wilkins Freeman was born in Randolph, Massachusetts on October 31, 1852. She attended Mount Holyoke College for one year and later finished her education at West Brattleboro Seminary. As a teenager, she began writing stories and verse for children in order to help support her family. She continued to write short stories, novels, poetry, and children's works throughout her life. Her best known works are A Humble Romance and Other Stories, A New England Nun and Other Stories, and Pembroke. Her characters were usually older women who confronted and asserted their independence in the changing social structure of rural New England. In April 1926, the American Academy of Arts and Letters presented her with the first William Dean Howells Medal for Distinction in Fiction. She was also inducted into the National Institute of Arts and Letters. She died of a heart attack on March 13, 1930 in Metuchen, New Jersey.