Item #8665 [Photograph of Charlotte Perkins Gilman in Her Study.]
[Photograph of Charlotte Perkins Gilman in Her Study.]
[Photograph of Charlotte Perkins Gilman in Her Study.]

Sign up to receive email notices of recent acquisitions.

[Photograph of Charlotte Perkins Gilman in Her Study.]

Ca. 1898. Silver print, 6.5” x 4.625”; signed on recto “Charlotte Perkins Gilman” and inscribed on verso “Charlotte Perkins Stetson Jan. 27th 1898.” CONDITION: Very good, a few small creases and chips to edges, one .5” tear to lower margin, affecting the “Ch” and following the lower edge of “ar” in her signature, but with no loss; 1.5” piece of tape on verso; excellent tonality.

A portrait photograph of author, social reformer, and philosopher Charlotte Perkins Gilman, signed on the verso just before she became “the leading intellectual in the women’s movement,” as well as on the image itself, after her second marriage (Degler).

This portrait of Charlotte Perkins Gilman—initially signed just six months before the publication of her famous manifesto Women and Economics—shows the author reading in a wicker rocking chair in her study. Born Charlotte Anna Perkins in Hartford, Connecticut, Gilman (1860–1935) received little formal education as a child after her father, Frederick Beecher Perkins (a nephew of Harriet Beecher Stowe) abandoned the family to poverty. She nevertheless attended Rhode Island School of Design, and in 1884 married fellow artist Charles Stetson. The union was an unhappy one, however, and Gilman suffered from depression after the birth of her daughter, Katharine, in 1885. She soon moved to Pasadena, California, writing and lecturing on feminism and reform topics to support herself and her daughter. Her marital experience inspired her famous short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” (1892), about a woman’s descent into madness in an idle and emotionally cold marriage, and in 1894 she managed at last to divorce Stetson. Shortly thereafter she sent Katharine to live with him and his second wife, and in 1900 married her cousin, George Houghton Gilman, who would remain her partner until his death in 1934. Despite recurrent bouts of depression, Gilman published more than a dozen books over the course of her career, including her widely-translated manifesto on the need for women’s financial independence entitled Women and Economics, which first appeared in June, 1898, and her utopian novel Herland (1915), about an all-female society. A powerful speaker, she lectured widely, and, from 1909 to 1916, ran her own magazine, The Forerunner. Gilman ended her own life in 1935 after being diagnosed with incurable cancer. This photograph comes from the estate of her only child, Katharine Beecher Stetson.

REFERENCES: Degler, Carl. Introduction to Gilman, Women and Economics (New York, 1966), p. xiii; Käuper, Kristin. “Charlotte Perkins Gilman,” History of Women Philosophers and Scientists online.

Item #8665

Price: $950.00

See all items in Autographs & Manuscripts