Born in Newark, New Jersey, on January 26, 1831, Mary Mapes Dodge was the most famous children’s book author of her time.
Her father, James Jay Mapes, was a scientist who traveled in prominent social circles—Mapes Avenue in Newark was named after him. Married at 20 to lawyer William Dodge, the couple had two children. Mrs. Dodge was widowed at age 28, whereupon she determined to support her family.
She was the first editor of, and contributor to, St. Nicholas magazine. Her stories for that periodical were gathered into two books, Baby Days (1876) and Baby World (1884). Another collection of stories was published in 1864, Irvington Stories. It was in 1865 that her most memorable book was published: Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates was still widely read for a century after it was published. The 1932 edition was illustrated by N.C. Wyeth (upper left).
Mrs. Dodge died in 1905.