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Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856–1923)

Author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm

103+ Works 8,098 Members 116 Reviews 8 Favorited

About the Author

Kate Douglas Wiggin was born Sept. 28, 1856, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Wiggin attended a district school in Philadelphia and for short periods the Gorham Female Seminary in Maine, the Morison Academy in Maryland, and the Abbott Academy in Massachusetts. In 1873 she moved with her family to show more California. In San Francisco, in 1877, after the death of her stepfather, Kate became involved in the "free kindergarten" movement after attending a kindergarten training class at the Pacific Model Training School for Kindergartners. She opened the first free kindergarten in California, Silver Street Free Kindergarten, and worked there until the late 1880's. Wiggin organized the first free kindergartens on the Pacific coast in 1878 and with her sister established a training school for kindergarten teachers. Kate wrote and privately published her first book, The Birds' Christmas Carol, in order to raise money for her school in San Francisco. The book helped Kate begin her career in publishing, translation, and travel. As part of her teaching career she wrote The Story of Patsy, published in 1883. The most popular among her many later works for children were The Birds¿ Christmas Carol published in 1887, Timothy¿s Quest published in 1890, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm published in 1903, and Mother Carey¿s Chickens published in 1911. Wiggin is best known for Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm which was later made into a film starring Shirley Temple. Other works include The Diary of a Goose Girl, Rose O' the River, The Flag-Raising, The Old Peabody Pew, and books of the Penelope series, including Penelope's English Experiences, Penelope's Experiences in Scotland, Penelope's Irish Experiences, and Penelope's Postscripts. In 1904, Bowdoin College presented Wiggin with an honorary degree, only the second such degree the College had ever granted to a woman. Kate Wiggin died on August 24th, 1923 at Harrow, Middlesex, England. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Project Gutenberg


Works by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903) 3,961 copies
The Birds' Christmas Carol (1887) 899 copies
The Arabian Nights : Their best-known tales (1993) — Editor — 747 copies
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm [abridged - Classic Starts] (2007) — Original story — 253 copies
Mother Carey's Chickens (1911) 221 copies
New Chronicles of Rebecca (1907) 186 copies
Penelope's Progress (1898) 65 copies
Timothy's Quest (1890) 52 copies
The Fairy Ring (1934) — Editor — 46 copies
Rose o' the River (1905) 45 copies
The Diary of a Goose Girl (1902) 31 copies
Susanna and Sue (1909) 31 copies
Tales of Wonder Every Child Should Know (1909) — Editor — 30 copies
The Affair at the Inn (1904) 29 copies
The Story of Patsy (1911) 26 copies
Tales of Laughter Every Child Should Know (1926) — Editor — 23 copies
The Shirley Temple Treasury (1959) 20 copies
A Cathedral Courtship (1893) 20 copies
The Village Watch-Tower (1895) 18 copies
Penelope's Postscripts (1915) 17 copies
The Story Hour (1890) 16 copies
Golden Numbers (1902) 15 copies
Robinetta (1911) 12 copies
Homespun Tales (1909) 11 copies
Ladies-in-Waiting (1919) 9 copies
Marm Lisa (1896) 9 copies
Pinafore Palace (1907) 8 copies
Froebel’s Gifts (1895) — Author — 5 copies
Half a Dozen Housekeepers (1903) 3 copies
The Flag-Raising (1907) 3 copies
A Village Stradivarius (1904) 2 copies

Associated Works


Common Knowledge

Legal name
Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith
Date of death
Burial location
South Buxton Cemetery, Buxton, Maine, USA
USA (birth)
Country (for map)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
Place of death
Harrow-on-the-Hill, England, UK
Places of residence
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA (birth)
Santa Barbara, California, USA
New York, New York, USA
Hollis, Maine, USA
England, UK
University: Pacific Model Training School for Kindergartners
Smith, Nora A. (sister)
The Dorcas Society (founder)
Society of Bowdoin Women (founder)
Froebel Society (founder)
New York Kindergarten Association
Awards and honors
Bowdoin College honorary degree (1904)
Short biography
Kate Douglas Wiggin (1856-1923) was a pioneer of the kindergarten movement in the United States in the nineteenth century. She helped to establish the Silver Street Kindergarten in San Francisco in 1878, the first free kindergarten in California. She also co-founded the California Kindergarten Training School for aspiring kindergarten teachers in 1880. In addition to kindergarten training and advocacy, Wiggin was a prolific author of books for children, including the well-known Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1903) and Mother Carey's Chickens (1911). Wiggin also published a number of works on kindergarten theory and method as well as fiction for adults.



A sweet old fashioned book. I'm sure my book group will love it. I look forward to seeing the movie which was based on it. It is nice to see the positive attitudes through difficult times. Not what we see much today.
njcur | 6 other reviews | Sep 30, 2023 |
When ten-year-old Rebecca Randall leaves Sunnybrook Farm to go and live with her aunts, Miranda and Jane, in Riverboro neither she nor her aunts know quite what to expect. And with Rebecca around it's usually the unexpected that happens anyway. In fact it is this gift for the unexpected that means that life is never quite the same again for anyone with whom she comes into contact.

This classic story of a young girl growing up in the American state of Maine at the end of the 19th century follows Rebecca's life, education and escapades through the next seven years until the day, as the new mistress of her aunts' old brick house, she begins her adult life.… (more)
PlumfieldCH | 45 other reviews | Sep 22, 2023 |
Eleven-year-old Rebecca Randall is quite a handful--and now she's leaving her beloved Sunnybrook Farm to live with her well-to-do elderly aunts and get an education. But they were expecting Rebecca's quiet, hard-working older sister instead. Can the bright-eyed and talkative girl win them over...especially her strict, rule-bound Aunt Miranda? Just as Rebecca's "grand spirit" charms everyone in the story, it will captivate readers, too.
PlumfieldCH | 1 other review | Sep 21, 2023 |
This wasn't outstanding, but it was fine. Robinetta Loring is a 22-year-old widow from America who comes to visit her forbidding aunt-by-marriage in England. She's hoping for a warm and fuzzy welcome, but what she gets is cold and stiff. Regardless, she finds friendship with her mother's old nurse, her young male cousin, and the lawyer who does business for the estate. Episodes of romance and family tension follow.
Alishadt | Feb 25, 2023 |



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