Anne Dudley Bradstreet was born in 1612 in England. She married Simon Bradstreet at age sixteen. Her father was a steward to an Earl, and thus she was well tutored in language and literature.

With her parents they arrived in American on June 14, 1630 in Salem aboard the “Arbella” with John Winthrop, but they moved soon to Charlestown, then Cambridge, before settling in Ipswich. In the mid-1640’s, Simon and Anne, pregnant with her sixth child, moved to what is now North Andover. Over the course of years they moved six times.

Simon Bradstreet was active in colonial politics, and was selected to serve as colonial secretary, a post he held until 1644, which required frequent traveling to the various outposts of the colony.

During these years, often alone with her eight children, Anne took consolation in her writing, and it was during this time that she wrote a collection of poems published in London in 1650, probably without her knowledge, as The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung up in America…by a Gentlewoman in these Parts. This established Anne Bradstreet as the first female poet in the New World, and the first published poet in the English colonies of North America. 

Anne Bradstreet died at the age of 60, after suffering from tuberculosis and a paralyzing joint disease in her later years. Simon Bradstreet lived to be over 90 years old and served as Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony from 1679 – 1692.

Anne Bradstreet 's home in Ipswich was near or at the location of the Waldo-Caldwell house on High St.
Anne Bradstreet’s home in Ipswich was near or at the location of the Waldo-Caldwell house on High St.
The Works of Anne Bradstreet
The Works of Anne Bradstreet

Contemplations

Then higher on the glistering Sun I gaz’d
Whose beams was shaded by the leavie Tree,
The more I look’d, the more I grew amaz’d
And softly said, what glory’s like to thee?
Soul of this world, this Universes Eye,
No wonder, some made thee a Deity:
Had I not better known, (alas) the same had I

Sources

A presentation by Thomas Franklin Waters to the Ipswich Historical Society, December 1, 1902.