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Person Detail: Marietta Holley

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General Information:
Full Name: Marietta Holley
Born between Bear Creek and Adams in southern Jefferson County in 1836, Marietta Holley turned her early life on a North Country farm into the values and voices of the literary comedian "Josiah Allen's Wife," Samantha. Sometimes called "the female Mark Twain," Holley had the same publisher and illustrator that Twain did, though she pioneered the use of comedy for women's rights. Her unique position in American literature was the intersection of dialect humor, women's domestic fiction and local color writing. In 21 books, Holley created and developed the first sympathetic female comic figure in American literature. Usually Samantha, the naÏve farm wife, makes a journey outside of "Jonesville" to places where she encounters the movers and shakers of the late 19th century. These meetings contrast the simple good sense and democratic ideals of North Country folk with the values and opinions of politicians and celebrities in popular venues such as Coney Island, the Thousand Islands, The World's Fair and Saratoga. Disguised as travelogues, Holley's Samantha novels blended three literary traditions into memorable characters who insisted on a true American democracy. Holley died in 1926, well after the vote was finally secured for women. Her novels include: "My Opinions and Betsey Bobbett's," "Samantha at Saratoga," and "Samantha Among the Brethren." Critical biography of Holley: Kate H. Winter, Marietta Holley: Life With "Josiah Allen's Wife" Syracuse University Press. (Our thanks to Ms. Winter for this biography.)
Author's Timeline:
1836 Jefferson County
Born between Bear Creek and Adams, NY 
1887 Saratoga County
"Samantha at Saratoga,"
Holley's novel, "Samantha at Saratoga" is set in Saratoga Springs. 
1926 (Unknown) County
1872 (Unknown) County
"My Opinions and Betsey Bobbett's,"
1890 (Unknown) County
"Samantha Among the Brethren."
? St. Lawrence County
Lived near Pierepont, NY 

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