Alice Davis Odekirk Greenwood (1850 - 1936), a rather obscure author
of poetry in in the popular, sentimental tradition, was born January 8, 1850
in Vermillion County, Indiana, the daughter of Oliver P. Davis. Mr. Davis,
who became one of the largest land owners in the county, had entered the
practice of law after a first career as a dentist. He was elected a member
of the Indiana Constitution Convention of 1852, and later served 3 terms
as a Senator in the Indiana General Assembly. He became a personal friend
of Indiana Governor Morton and acted as an adviser to him during the Civil War.
Ms. Greenwood grew-up her on family’s plantation-like farm and, in her early
teens, attended St. Mary-Of-The-Woods Academy in Indiana, a school for girls
operated by the Sisters of Providence. Later she attended Colby College in
New London, New Hampshire.
After the death of her first husband, she married Albert Greenwood, a Canadian,
with whom she traveled extensively living in New Hampshire, Massachusetts,
Illinois, Alabama, California & Canada. She eventually returned to Rockville,
Indiana where she resided until her death.
She contributed many poems & some prose to newspapers & magazines, including
the Boston Journal. Her poetry often attempted to capture the grammar and
pronunciation of a particular social class such as the farmhands around whom
she was raised or, although white, the dialect of Afro-Americans. Regarding
the latter, she sometimes published under the name "Aunt Jemina", and all the
poems in her CAWN & DODGAHS capture the musings of an Afro-American woman
about her life, children, & circumstances. For the period, these poems are
unusual in giving an Afro-American woman an intelligent and deeply thoughtful
Find available items by: Alice Greenwood
Her poems were published in three books, all of which are scarce:
- HUSKS & NUBBINS (Concord, NH 1899)
- SONGS OF HOME (Oakland, CA 1907)
- CAWN & DODGAHS (Chicago, 1910)
Content provided by: Henry F. Hain III.