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Whitman, Sarah Helenlocked

(19 January 1803–27 June 1878)
  • Robert L. Gale


Whitman, Sarah Helen (19 January 1803–27 June 1878), writer and spiritualist, was born Sarah Helen Power in Providence, Rhode Island, the daughter of Nicholas Power, a prosperous merchant, and Anna Marsh. Her father, bankrupted by the adverse commercial consequences of the War of 1812, sailed in 1813 for North Carolina and the West Indies and was captured by the British. When released in 1815 he continued his life at sea until he returned home after a nineteen-year absence. Meanwhile, Sarah Power read widely as a child, lived with an aunt in Jamaica, Long Island, and attended a Quaker school there. On returning to Providence, she was placed in a private school where she learned to read French, German, and Italian and began to write poetry. In 1828 she married John Winslow Whitman, a well-connected Boston lawyer who was more active as coeditor of the ...

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