Sketches and Scraps (1881)
Five Mice in a Mouse Trap (1881)
The Joyous Story of Toto (1885)
Toto’s Merry Winter (1887)
Queen Hildegarde (1889)
In My Nursery (1890)
Captain January (1890)
Hildegarde’s Holiday (1891)
Hildegarde’s Home (1892)
Glimpses of the French Court (1893)
When I Was Your Age (1894)
Jim of Hellas (1895)
Five Minute Stories (1895)
Isla Heron (1896)
Some Say (1896)
Hildegarde’s Harvest (1897)
Three Margarets (1897)
Margaret Montfort (1898)
Love and Rocks (1898)
Rosin the Beau (1898)
For Tommy (1900)
Quicksilver Sue (1901)
Mrs. Tree (1902)
The Hurdy Gurdy (1902)
The Green Satin Gown (1903)
The Golden Windows (1903)
The Merryweathers (1904)
Mrs. Tree’s Will (1905)
The Piccolo (1906)
The Silver Crown (1906)
The Life of Florence Nightingale for Young People (1909)
Up To Calvin’s (1910)
Two Noble Lives (1911)
Miss Jimmy (1912)
The Little Master (1913)
Three Minute Stories (1914)
The Life of Julia Ward Howe (1915)
The Life of Elizabeth Fry (1916)
The Life of Abigail Adams (1917)
The Life of Joan of Arc (1919)
Honor Bright (1920)
The Squire (1923)
Oriental Operettas (1924)
Star Bright (1927)
Laura Bridgman (1928)
Stepping Westward (1931)
Tirra Lirra (1932)
Samuel Gridley Howe (1935)
I Have A Song To Sing You (1938)
(1850-1943) was born in Boston on February 27, 1850 but spent most of her adult life in Gardiner. Though primarily an author of children’s books, she was also a social reformer, inspired by her parents Dr. Samuel Gridley Howe and Julia Ward Howe.
In 1871, Laura Elizabeth Howe married architect and industrialist Henry Richards and returned with him to Gardiner five years later. As the Gardiner Library’s Web site notes,
Here she wrote more than ninety works, mostly in the fields of children’s literature and biography, at the family’s celebrated residence, the Yellow House. Following the example of her parents, Mrs. Richards brought about social reforms and civic improvements in Gardiner including the introduction of safe drinking water, the public health nurse, the hospital, the Red Cross, a new high school, and numerous service organizations, including the Gardiner Public Library.
In 1917 she, and her sister Maud Howe Elliott, won the first Pulitzer Prize for their 1915 biography of their mother: Julia Ward Howe: 1819-1910.
Richards pioneered American writing of nonsense verses for children. In addition to poetry, she wrote books for girls (including the series Hildegarde, and the Three Margarets) and several biographies.
Her personal papers, the “Yellow House Papers,” are owned by the Gardiner Library Association.
She was a mentor of Gardiner’s other Pulitzer Prize winner, Edwin Arlington Robinson, whose letters to her are among her papers. In 2001 Jiggle Joggle Jee, a train book for kids was published. The text was Richard’s poem, “The Baby Goes to Boston,” published in 1902.
Richards died on January 14, 1943.
The Internet web sites of the Gardiner Public Library and the Waterboro Public Library have more detailed interpretations.
Benet, Laura. Famous Poets for Young People. Dodd. 1964.
Chevalier, Tracy, editor. Twentieth-Century Children’s Writers, 3rd edition. St. James Press. 1989.
Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 42: American Writers for Children before 1900. Gale. 1985.
MacLeod, Anne Scott, “Laura E. Richards,” in Writers for Children. Edited by Jane M. Bingham. Scribner. 1988.
Twentieth-Century Children’s Writers, fourth edition. St. James Press. 1995.
Yesterday’s Authors of Books for Children, Volume 1. Gale. 1977.