Harriet E. Wilson entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
Works By
Harriet E. Wilson, the first black woman to publish a novel—Hannah Crafts may have written the first one,—in the USA, created the form for such novels by subverting the form of fiction offered her by white writers and drawing on the already-existent tradition of black autobiography. Her work is both a sentimental novel and a bildungsroman, as well as a narrative of personal survival through persecution and degradation. Since Harriet E. Wilson disappeared from the records soon after her publication, the status of her novel as her only work is assumed but not proven.
1807 or 1808 According to the US census of 1860 (for Massachusetts), Harriet Adams (later HEW) was born in Fredericksburg, Virginia, USA. Bibliographic Citation link.
18 August 1859 HEW entered the copyright of her startlingly-titled novel Our Nig at the Clerk's office of the District Court of Massachusetts. Bibliographic Citation link.
5 September 1859 HEW published her sentimental autobiographical novel Our Nig; or, Sketches from the Life of a Free Black, in a Two-Story White House, North, Showing that Slavery's Shadows Fall Even There. Bibliographic Citation link.
By summer 1860 HEW may have died in the same year as her son, since she is not listed in the Massachusetts census records of this year. Alternatively, her death may not have been traced. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
Life Highlights
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