Margaret Deland

Margaret Deland Poems

Margaret Deland Biography

Margaret Deland was an American poet and novelist who also wrote short stories.  She belonged to the literary realism movement that prevailed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.  This prolific writer had over thirty books to her name.

She was born Margaretta Wade Campbell on the 23rd February 1857 in Allegheny, Pennsylvania.  Tragically her mother died giving birth so she was raised by an aunt and uncle.  Her education was taken at private schools and the Cooper Union in New York City.  For a short time she worked as a teacher of drawing.

Margaretta married a publisher named Lorin F Deland in 1880 whose output included the production of greetings cards.  She soon found her own niche in this business, writing verses for the cards.  Encouraged by her success in this she had her first collection of poems published in 1886 under the title The Old Garden.  When her husband sold the company they moved to Boston and lived fairly affluently, being able to also purchase a property in Kennebunkport, Maine as a summer residence.  They kept this house for the next fifty years or so.

Deland became increasingly interested in the plight of unmarried mothers and women’s rights in general.  She even went so far as to open up her Boston home to  them and, during a four-year period, it is believed that the Delands took in at least 60 young women and their children on a temporary basis.  She was writing pieces for the Atlantic Monthly on this subject and one piece, in 1910, deduced that restlessness was a
She was moved by the struggles of the French population during the First World War and spent time there, winning an award from the Légion d”honneur for her efforts.  During the 1920s she worked tirelessly for the recognition of female writers in American literature alongside the likes of Edith Wharton and Mary E Wilkins Freeman.  She was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters and helped towards the
She was also an outspoken critic of some religious faiths such as Calvinism and her 1888 novel, John Ward, Preacher was an indictment of the movement.  The book became a best seller.

Many of the themes that she used in her work concerned the everyday lives of small-town America and a good example is the charming little poem Butter and Eggs which is a simple tale of a young man pleading to be allowed to purchase a kiss from the young woman selling dairy produce at the farm gate.  This short poem is reproduced here:
She wrote a series of books that became known as the village chronicles, based on her childhood experiences.  Titles included
  More hard-hitting titles, her so-called “problem novels”, included
  Following her work in France she published a series of articles called Small Things in 1919.
Margaret Deland died in her last place of residence, Boston’s Hotel Sheraton, on the 13th January 1945.  She was 87 years old.