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Jeannette Leonard Gilder (1849–1916)

Illustration of Jeannette Gilder as a young girl in Autobiography of a Tomboy (1900), Gilder's memoir of her adventurous childhood.
Illustration of Jeannette Gilder as a young girl
in Autobiography of a Tomboy (1900), Gilder's
memoir of her adventurous childhood.

Newspaper correspondent, editor, and critic Jeannette Leonard Gilder was born in Flushing, Long Island. She attended boarding school for one or two terms in Southern New Jersey, but her formal education ended at the age of 15. After her father's death in 1864 she worked in the office of the state adjutant general at Trenton, then briefly at an accountant's office before finding work as an employee of the US Mint in Philadelphia. Her correspondence with Alexander G. Cattell regarding this job contains letters from Gilder asking for Cattell's help in obtaining a new position, and explaining that her father's death made it necessary for her to work.

In 1881, after a brief stint as a copyist at the Newark office of the registrar of deeds, she and her brother Joseph founded the literary magazine The Critic, which would be folded into the new version of Putnam's Magazine in 1906. As co-editor of The Critic, Gilder corresponded with the leading authors, editors, and critics of the day. She also cared for the children of E. Cholmeley-Jones after the death of his first wife.

Another set of letters documents Gilder's correspondence with a former employee, Annie Braeml. The recently dismissed Braeml, who had been a tutor to one of the Cholmeley-Jones children, Nathaniel, appealed to Gilder as a fellow working woman who knew, as Gilder wrote, "what it is to struggle and be honest, to live upon small means."

Digitized Archival Materials

Jeannette Leonard Gilder Papers

  • 10. Correspondence, with Alexander G. Cattell. 1867–1868. Re job at U.S. Mint in Philadelphia.
  • 14. Annie Braeml, 8 letters to Jeanette Gilder, Dec. 1889-March 1890.

Full Collection Citation

Jeannette Leonard Gilder Papers. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College.

Electronic Finding Aid

Gilder, Jeannette L. (Jeannette Leonard), 1849–1916. Papers, 1865–1917: A Finding Aid (M-63). Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Cambridge, MA.

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