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The Life and Legacy of Charlotte Perkins Gilman

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Charlotte Perkins Gilman was a prominent feminist writer and social reformer known for her works like 'The Yellow Wallpaper' and 'Women and Economics.' Born in 1860, she faced personal struggles, including postpartum depression, which fueled her critique of women's medical treatment and societal roles. Gilman's advocacy for women's economic independence and her role in early feminist movements made her a key figure in women's rights, despite her contentious support for eugenics.

Early Life and Influences of Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman, an influential feminist writer and social reformer, was born on July 3, 1860, in Hartford, Connecticut. Her father, Frederic Beecher Perkins, left the family when Charlotte was a young child, leading to a life of frequent relocations and financial hardship for her and her family. Despite these challenges, Gilman was exposed to feminist and abolitionist ideals through her aunts, including Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of the anti-slavery novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin." Gilman's education at the Rhode Island School of Design, which she attended from 1878 to 1880, provided her with a foundation in art and design that would influence her later work.
Vintage writing desk with ornate legs, brass lamp with green shade, feather quill, inkwell, and leather-bound book in a room with green walls and soft lighting.

The Personal Struggles and Literary Breakthrough of Gilman

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's personal life was fraught with challenges, including her experience with postpartum depression after the birth of her daughter, Katherine, in 1885. Misdiagnosed as a case of hysteria, Gilman was subjected to the 'rest cure,' a treatment developed by Dr. Silas Weir Mitchell that severely limited her intellectual and creative activities. This experience would later inspire her to write "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892), a short story that criticized the medical treatment of women and the broader societal oppression they faced. Gilman's marriage to artist Charles Walter Stetson ended in divorce in 1894, a decision that underscored her commitment to personal and ideological independence.

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______ ______, a prominent advocate for women's rights, was born on ______ ______, ______, in ______, ______.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman

July 3





Despite facing economic difficulties and instability in her early life, Gilman received her education at the ______ ______ ______ ______ ______, studying there from ______ to ______.

Rhode Island School of Design




Gilman's postpartum depression year

1885, after daughter Katherine's birth, misdiagnosed as hysteria.


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