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Alice D. O. Greenwood

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 voice.
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.

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