Ann Bradstreet, America's first published poet

Anne Dudley Bradstreet, the colony’s first published poet

Featured image: frontispiece for “An Account of Anne Bradstreet: The Puritan Poetess, and Kindred Topics” edited by Colonel Luther Caldwell (Boston, 1898)

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

With her parents they arrived in America on June 14, 1630 in Salem aboard the “Arbella” along with John Winthrop, but they moved soon to Charlestown, then Cambridge. Thomas Dudley, his son Samuel, and his sons-in-law Daniel Denison and Simon Bradstreet moved to the new Ipswich settlement in 1635. They undoubtedly inspired a number of the other early inhabitants of that town to follow them to Ipswich.In the mid-1640s, 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 by Nathaniel Ward, 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.


Then higher on the glistering Sun I gaz’d
Whose beams were 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 Universe’s Eye,
No wonder some made thee a Deity;
Had I not better known, (alas) the same had I