Haven, Alice Bradley

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HAVEN, Alice Bradley

Born Emily Bradley, 13 September 1827, Hudson, New York; died 23 August 1863, Mamaroneck, New York

Wrote under: Cousin Alice, Clara Cushman, Alice B. Haven, Alice G. Less

Daughter of George and Sarah Brown Bradley; married Joseph C. Neal, 1846 (died); Samuel L. Haven, 1853; children: five

Alice Bradley Haven lost her father when she was three and was adopted by her uncle J. Newton Brown, a Baptist minister. While a student at the seminary in New Hampton, New Hampshire, her classmates challenged Haven to submit one of her stories to a newspaper. Using the pseudonym of Alice G. Less, she sent her story to Joseph C. Neal, the Philadelphia editor of Neal's Saturday Gazette and Lady's Literary Museum. Neal accepted Haven's story and enthusiastically encouraged her literary talent.

Widowed seven months after her marriage to Neal, Haven worked for the next six years as an editor of the Gazette and wrote stories for children under the name of Cousin Alice. After her second marriage, Haven retired from editing and had five children, dying a month after the birth of the fifth.

Her first novel, Helen Morton's Trial (1849), concerns the ordeal of a young girl's temporary blindness, a condition Haven herself had periodically experienced as a child. Her best-known work, The Gossips of Rivertown: Sketches in Prose and Verse (1850), reveals that beneath her saccharine surface, Haven possessed a gift for sarcastic ridicule of the religious hypocrisy and provincialism of the small town. The book includes a novel detailing the persecution of a pretty and lively girl who becomes the target of maliciously jealous gossips. The sketches that follow expose the same jaundiced view of domestic life, one being entitled "Ideal Husbands; or, School-Girl Fancies."

Haven followed this novel with a series of "Home Books" for children, each presenting a moral embodied in the title, such as Out of Debt, Out of Anger (1856) and A Place for Everything and Everything in Its Place (1857).

Haven was eulogized by the Godey's Lady's Book for being a member of the "Sensible School, in the tradition of Jane Austen." "She has not adopted the vulgar and pretentious maxim that it is better to do a great thing badly than a little thing well.… [She] trusts to nature to be interesting."

Other Works:

No Such Word As Fail (1852). All's Not Gold That Glitters (1853). Contentment Better Than Wealth (1853). Patient Waiting No Loss (1853). Nothing Venture, Nothing Have (1855). The Coopers (1858). Loss and Gain (1860). The Good Report: Morning and Evening Lessons for Lent (1867). Home Studies (1869).


Reference works:

AA. CAL. DAB. NAW (1971). NCAB.


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