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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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3. Utopian Promise   

7. Slavery and

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Activities: Author Activities

Helen Hunt Jackson - Selected Archive Items

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[5237] Anonymous, Helen Hunt Jackson, Young Girl (1845),
courtesy of Colorado College, Tutt Library Special Collections.
Born in 1830 to strict, Calvinist parents, Helen Hunt Jackson was orphaned in her teens and educated in female boarding schools in Massachusetts and New York. Jackson is most famous for her work on behalf of Native Americans, including her books A Century of Dishonor and Ramona.

[5238] Anonymous, Helen Hunt Jackson (c. 1875),
courtesy of Colorado College, Tutt Library Special Collections.
At the time of this portrait, Helen Hunt was a vocal advocate for Native American rights. In 1882 she was appointed as a special commissioner for Indian affairs, the first woman to hold such a position.

[5240] Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona manuscript page (c. 1883),
courtesy of Colorado College, Tutt Library Special Collections.
Helen Hunt Jackson hoped that Ramona would call attention to the mistreatment of California's Indians in the same way that Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin had highlighted the plight of slaves.

[5244] Anonymous, Ramona (n.d.),
courtesy of the San Diego Historical Society.
Helen Hunt Jackson's novel Ramona explored prejudice, interracial marriage, and the injustices done to California Indians.

[7866] Helen Hunt Jackson, Ramona: A Story (1884),
courtesy of the Reed College Library.
Ramona is a sentimental novel about a virtuous half-Indian, half-white woman and her Indian husband, who are downtrodden by racism and unjust Indian policies. An immediate bestseller, Ramona has gone through over three hundred printings since its initial publication and has inspired many plays, films, and pageants.

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