Anne Bradstreet was born in March of 1612 in Northampton, England. Her birth name was Anne Dudley and her parents were Thomas Dudley, who was the steward of the Early of Lincoln, and Dorothy Yorke. Her family’s position allowed her to grow up in a well-educated household. She was consistently exposed to books and was tutored in history as well as several languages. As a young woman she was deeply moved and inspired by the writer Du Bartas, who was a courtier and poet in the mid-late 1500s in France.
Marriage and Emigration
When she was only sixteen years old she married Simon Bradstreet who would late serve as the governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The couple, alongside Anne’s parents, immigrated to America as part of the Winthrop Fleet of Puritan emigrants in 1630. It was not until June that she arrived in the New World. The family spent short periods of time in Charleston, what is now Salem, and Boston. They eventually settled in Cambridge.
It was here that Bradstreet had her first child, Samuel. He was the first of eight children to be born to the couple. Bradstreet’s health was tenuous throughout her life but she was able to achieve a high social standing and live through the delivery of all her children. The couple moved again while Bradstreet was pregnant with their sixth child and ended up in Andover Parish.
The Bradstreet’s played an important role in the founding of Harvard in 1636 and two of their sons were graduates of the institution. In 1650, Bradstreet’s work, The Tenth Muse lately Sprung Up in America was published. The author’s name was listed as “A Gentlewoman from Those Parts.” The family home burned in July of 1666, an event which Bradstreet wrote about in her poem, ‘Verses upon the Burning of our House, July 10th, 1666.’
Later Life and Legacy
In the later years of her life Bradstreet contract an illness which led to a paralysis of her joints. In 1672, Anne Bradstreet died of tuberculosis. She was sixty years old. It is like she was buried in the Old Burying Ground in North Andover.
Today, Bradstreet is remembered as the first writer in England’s North American Colonies to be published. She is also the first Puritan figure in American Literature. Her body of work, especially of a poetic nature, is quite large and led to a number of pieces being published posthumously.