Annie Adams Fields (1834-1915)

Biographer, Poet, & Philanthropist

Annie Adams Fields was born on June 6, 1834, in Boston, Massachusetts.

From a young age, Fields displayed a keen intellect and a passion for self-expression. Educated at the School for Young Ladies in Boston, she cultivated her love for literature and nature, laying the groundwork for her future endeavors. In 1854, she entered into marriage with James T. Fields, a revered publisher and literary figure of Ticknor & Fields, thus beginning a partnership that would shape the course of her life and career.

At the heart of Fields's work was a dedication to nurturing emerging talent and fostering literary camaraderie. Together with her husband, she provided a platform for budding writers such as Sarah Orne Jewett, Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman, and Emma Lazarus, while also establishing a vibrant literary salon at their home on Charles Street in Boston.

Fields's philanthropic pursuits were equally noteworthy. She championed movements like social reform and women's emancipation, founding initiatives such as the Holly Tree Inns and the Lincoln Street Home, which provided vital support to unmarried working women in Boston.

Following her husband's passing in 1881, Fields continued to be a central figure in Boston's literary circles. Her enduring partnership with Sarah Orne Jewett, a celebrated novelist, provided solace and companionship in the face of loss.

A photograph of a room where one woman sits by the fireplace and another sits by the window.
Fields in her Charles Street home's library with partner Sarah Orne Jewett, published 1922

Together, they forged a bond that transcended convention, sharing their lives and travels in a union referred to as a "Boston marriage." More recent uncovered correspondence between the two women evidence that Jewett and Fields considered themselves married. Jewett and Fields exchanged rings and vows, and on the one-year anniversary of their vows, Jewett wrote a poem, "Do You Remember, Darling," depicting her commitment to and love of Fields.

Fields's legacy endures through her writings and editorial contributions. She meticulously curated collections of letters and biographical sketches, offering invaluable insights into the lives of her contemporaries. Her works, though steeped in sentimentality, reflect a nuanced understanding of human relationships and societal dynamics.

A photo of a small square gravestone monument

In death, Fields found her final resting place alongside her husband in Lot 2700 on Elder Path in Mount Auburn Cemetery, and away from her life partner Jewett, who was buried in the Portland Street Cemetery in South Berwick, Maine.