Sophie Jewett

1861 –

Sophie Jewett, a poet, translator, and professor, was born on June 3, 1861, in Moravia, New York, to Dr. Charles Carroll Jewett, a country physician, and Ellen Ransom Burroughs. Jewett’s father died during her childhood, prompting the family, including her two sisters and brother, to move to Buffalo, New York. Around age twenty, she traveled to England and Italy, usually in the company of one of her sisters, who was an artist. Her sojourns in the latter country inspired what became Italian Sketches (Suburban Press, 1917). 

Jewett began teaching English literature at Wellesley College in 1889 and was promoted to associate professor in 1897. The year before, she published her first poetry collection, The Pilgrim and Other Poems (Macmillan & Co., 1896). This was the first time that Jewett published work under her own name, having previously published under her mother’s as “Ellen Burroughs.” In 1905, she contributed work to Persephone and Other Poems, an anthology of poetry from the college’s English instructors, published by the Wellesley College department of English literature. Her final collection, The Poems of Sophie Jewett (Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1910), a collection of her body of work, was published a year after her death.

Jewett also published translations, both during her lifetime and posthumously: Folk Ballads of Southern Europe (G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1913) and The Pearl (Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1908). She also published the illustrated nonfiction work God’s Troubadour: The Story of St. Francis of Assisi (Thomas Y. Crowell & Co., 1910). 

Jewett died in Buffalo, New York, on October 11, 1909, in her brother’s home.