Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born on July 3, 1860 in Connecticut. Her great aunts Catherine Beecher, Isabella Beecher Hooker, and Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) were all active social reformers. Gilman’s relations fostered a passion for women’s rights, which she advocated for throughout her life. She was a prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction and published a magazine called the Forerunner.
Gilman was married twice. She divorced her first husband Charles Walter Stetson, an artist (with whom she had a daughter), then later married her cousin George Gilman. She had a life-long battle with depression and likely suffered from post-partum depression after the birth of her daughter, which may have been the underlying influence behind her provocative story The Yellow Wallpaper. In her 70s, Gilman was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. She did not want to face a long and painful death and believed in the right to die, so Gilman committed suicide by inhaling Chloroform in 1935. She was 75 years old.
Works by Charlotte Perkins Gilman Available on the Podcast:
To learn more about The Yellow Wallpaper and the author, visit:
This article was published in Gilman’s magazine The Forerunner in October, 1913. It explains, in her own words, what motivated her to write this provocative story, which infuriated some and helped others.
This site provides an analysis of the text and the author with a copy of the story containing links to footnotes.
Entry on Charlotte Perkins Gilman.