Carlotta Perry

During the height of her writing career, in many ways, Carlotta was a reflection of her times. The second half of the 19th century was filled with change, especially for women. Temperance and suffrage were in the forefront and Carlotta’s circle of friends and acquaintances included some of the leading names of those movements. She was independent and active and was appointed to the Author’s Congress for the 1893 Chicago Exposition, a member of the National Editorial Association, Press and Pen, the Illinois Woman’s Press Association as well as the Oh Be Joyful Club of Milwaukee. As a member of the Chicago Exposition Author’s Congress, she worked with other members including Mrs. Potter Palmer and Miss Harriet Monroe. Mrs. Palmer and her husband owned extensive property in Chicago, including the Palmer House Hotel and she was active in women’s trade unions and other social issues. Harriet Monroe was a poet and artist and began Poetry, a Magazine of Verse, in 1912.

Carlotta’s poetry includes verse with themes of animal rights, women’s status, and valuing the contributions of the elderly. A verse about how drink can change a man was quoted often in articles about temperance. At the same time, her writing could be the flowery, flighty verse of the day.

Her collection of poetry tells of her personal life that had its own tragedy and loss as well as demonstrates an independent spirit while being a mirror of her times. The subjects of her poems range from tragedy and how one responds to life’s tragedies, women’s achievements and men’s response to such, love, loss, and moral and ethical choices in living one’s life. She wrote uplifting, easy to remember verse. The Baltimore Sun’s “Bentztown Bard,” Folger McKinzie, always had a Carlotta Perry verse at the top of his column.

“It was only a glad good morning/ As she passed along the way/ But it spread the morning’s glory/ Over the livelong day.”

Her verse was also included in books like The Wit of Women, Capital Stories by American Authors, and The Speakers’ Library. Carlotta’s work was in the company of verse and essays by Mark Twain, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and James Whitcomb Riley.

Carlotta also wrote children’s stories and was published in highly regarded children’s magazines of the time including The Little Corporal, The Galaxy, and St. Nicholas.

Her published collection includes many poems that speak of love. Although childless, she produced a number of poems about the love between mother and child. Her deep love for her own mother is apparent from her years of caring for her mother, to the dedication of her only published book of poetry. It was her mother, as told in her bio in American Authors, who taught Carlotta to sing. Her singing is noted on occasion in found newspaper articles. The loss of her mother was heart breaking to Carlotta as evidenced in this poem.

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