Papers of Charlotte Perkins Gilman, 1846-1961
The present collection adds to the published evidence illumination primarily of Gilman's personal life, but also shows the consistency of her ideas throughout her life and, in the unpublished manuscripts, their later development. For the early years the journals and diaries are useful, but in the 1880s and 1890s entries are often sporadic due to her periods of illness, and after 1903 there are only engagement books, with at most very brief entries. The two "Thoughts and Figgerings" folders (16, 17) provide revealing glimpses of her plans, hopes, and her attitude toward herself and her life, as do the letters to Houghton and the later years of her life. The correspondence and newsclippings show her impact and the often extreme reactions she aroused, ranging from grateful adoration to vituperation (always anonymous), though her habit of destroying most personal letters leaves some perhaps unanswerable questions about her closer relationships.