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Cary, Phoebe (1824–1871)

Cary, Phoebe (1824–1871)

American poet who, in a literary partnership with sister Alice, was less known for her poetry than for her support of her more famous sibling. Born Phoebe Cary on September 4, 1824, in Mount Healthy, near Cincinnati, Ohio; died on July 31, 1871, in New York, New York; daughter of Elizabeth (Jessup) and Robert Cary; sister of poet Alice Cary (1820–1871); educated at home; never married; no children.

Selected works:

Poems and Parodies (1854); Poems of Faith, Hope, and Love (1868); Poetical Works of Alice and Phoebe Cary (1886).

Phoebe Cary lived in the shadow of her adored older sister Alice Cary . Raised by Alice from age 11, Phoebe emulated her and eventually followed her to New York, where their publishing careers mirrored their personalities: Alice always more apparent and ambitious than Phoebe.

In New York, Phoebe let her sister direct their lives socially and financially while she tended to their more basic needs and comforts. She wrote poetry and hymns when the inclination struck, and went for a eight-year period without writing at all. Both sisters were abolitionists. Phoebe worked briefly as assistant editor on Susan B. Anthony 's suffragist newspaper The Revolution. When Alice Cary became chronically ill in 1869, Phoebe acted as her full-time nurse. Alice died on February 12, 1871; Phoebe died six months later.

Crista Martin , Boston, Massachusetts

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