Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Biography

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

03 jul 1860

Charlotte Perkins Gillman’s life was quite challenging during her childhood days and horrible in her final years. But what she has accomplished in her life is really inspiring. Born in Hartford, Connecticut on Jul 3, 1860, Charlotte and her family were abandoned by her father when she was very young. With no place to live, her family used to go from one relative’s house to another for shelter. Charlotte’s mother did not show them affection since she wanted them to be strong by themselves.

With no love from her parents, Charlotte used to spend time in the public library in order to overcome loneliness. She studied designing and worked as a commercial artist. Charlotte Perkins Gillman suffered from postpartum depression after the birth of her first child. She ended her first marriage and re-married after 6 years.

Charlotte wrote many poems and books depicting the sufferings of women. She was the founder, writer and editor of the journal, ‘The Forerunner’. She also published a Utopian novel, ‘Herland’ in 1915. She should have been born with this talent since she was also the great niece of the 19th century writer Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Charlotte received public recognition after her poems, ‘In This World’, got published in 1893. Her book, ‘Women and Economics’ took her to the next level. Her semi-autobiographical short story, ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’ is remembered even today.

In 1932, Charlotte was diagnosed with breast cancer. Unable to tolerate the implications, she committed suicide and killed herself in 1935, by consuming overdose of Chloroform. She wrote in her suicide note that, ‘She chose chloroform over cancer’. Her autobiography, ‘The Living of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’ got published posthumously.

More of Charlotte’s talent and works are yet to be discovered. With what has been on records, Charlotte Perkins Gillman is considered to be one of America’s first feminists, whose writings promoted the cause of women’s rights’.