Brent Kendrick: Green Mountain Stories

Thursday, May 25, 2023 - 7:00pm
Event address: 
191 Bank Street
Burlington, VT 05401

Please join Onion River Press and Phoenix Books for an evening with Brent Kendrick to celebrate the release of Green Mountain Stories.

Think about it for a moment. What if a book had been published under a title that was not the one the author and her editor had agreed upon? Would it have mattered? Without doubt, the answer is, “Yes.” That’s especially true with the short story collection that you are about to read by Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. It was originally published under the title A Humble Romance and Other Stories (1887). But it was supposed to be published as Green Mountain Stories. Now, 136 years later, the collection is being published under its intended title. Green Mountain Stories, with an extensive critical commentary providing the intriguing backstory. This publication anchors Freeman solidly, unequivocally, and forever to Vermont—The Green Mountain State—where she launched her acclaimed literary career. Vermont can now claim Freeman as its own, just as exclusively as Freeman claimed Vermont as her own, from the start of her career until the end. The publication marks the beginning of Freeman’s journey back home to Vermont.

Mary E. Wilkins Freeman (1852-1930) enjoyed distinguished accolades throughout her career as a short story writer and novelist. At the start of the Twentieth Century—when her career was at its height—she and Mark Twain were considered America’s most beloved writers. She was the first recipient of the William Dean Howells Gold Medal for Distinguished Work in Fiction (1925). She was among the first women elected to membership in the National Institute of Arts and Letters (1926). And the bronze doors at the American Academy of Arts and Letters in New York (installed at its West 155 Street Administration Building in 1938) bear the inscription, “Dedicated to the Memory of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and the Women Writers of America.” Freeman was associated with three places. Randolph, Massachusetts—where she was born in 1852. Brattleboro, Vermont—where her family moved in 1867 and where she lived until around 1884 when she moved back to Randolph. Metuchen, New Jersey—where she moved after
marrying Dr. Charles Manning Freeman and where she remained until her death in 1930. Of those three geographic connections, one state lays greater claim for catapulting her into literary fame. Vermont. She launched her literary career while living in Brattleboro, and she never severed her personal, financial, and spiritual connections to the Green Mountain State.

Brent L. Kendrick, Ph.D., is widely known for his scholarly work on Mary E. Wilkins Freeman and is the editor of The Infant Sphinx: Collected Letters of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman, praised by The Journal of Modern Literature as “the most complete record to date of Freeman’s life as writer and woman.” He is working on a new, two-volume update--Dolly: Life and Letters of Mary E. Wilkins Freeman. Vol I: The New England Years (1852-1901). Vol II: The New Jersey Years (1902-1930). He earned his Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of South Carolina. After a twenty-five-year career at the Library of Congress–where he received the institution’s Distinguished Service Award–he relocated to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia and taught American Literature and Creative Writing at Laurel Ridge Community College (formerly Lord Fairfax Community College) from 1999-2022. The State Council of Higher Education in Virginia (SCHEV) named him one of the top twelve educators in the Commonwealth (2008). He received the Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence (Virginia Community College System, 2010). He was a Chancellor’s Professor (2012-2014). He was the first recipient of the Susan S. Wood Professorship for Teaching Excellence (2016).

DATE:  Thursday, May 25th, 7:00pm

LOCATION:  Phoenix Books Burlington, 191 Bank Street, downtown Burlington

ADMISSION: This event is free and open to all, but advance registration is appreciated.  Please register below. 

BOOKS:  Signed copies of Green Mountain Stories will be available at the event.