Adeline Dutton Train Whitney

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Adeline Train Whitney

Adeline Dutton Train Whitney (September 15, 1824 – March 20, 1906)[1] was an American poet and prolific writer who published more than 20 books for girls. Her books expressed a traditional view of women's roles and were popular throughout her life.


Whitney was born Adeline Dutton Train in Boston, Massachusetts, the daughter of Enoch Train and Adeline Train (née Dutton). Her father founded a line of packet ships that sailed between Boston and Liverpool, a major port of trade and emigration.

Adeline was educated at private schools; she studied at the school of George B. Emerson in Boston from 1837 to 1842. Her cousin George Francis Train was a successful entrepreneur, a founder of the Union Pacific Railroad, and an adventurer, making three round-the-world trips.

Marriage and family[edit]

On November 7, 1843, Adeline at the age of 19 married Seth Dunbar Whitney, a wealthy merchant who was twenty years older than she. They lived in Milton, where they raised their family.

Adeline Whitney started writing seriously in her thirties, after her children started school. She first published poems and stories in local journals. In 1859, she published her first book, Mother Goose for Grown Folks. She wrote mainly for young girls and supported conservative values. She promoted the message of the era that a woman's happiest place is in the home, the source of all goodness. As this was popular among parents, her books sold extremely well throughout her life.

Whitney privately opposed women's suffrage, and took no part in public life (in accordance with the traditional approach for women expressed in her books.) She patented a set of alphabet blocks for children.

She died in Milton at the age of 81.


Daffodils, 1887
  • 1857: "Footsteps on the Seas" (poem)
  • 1859: Mother Goose for Grown Folks (new editions in 1870 and 1882)
  • 1868: Boys at Chequasset
  • 1863: Faith Gartney's Girlhood
  • 1865: The Gayworthys
  • 1866: A Summer in Leslie Goldthwaite's Life
  • 1868: Patience Strong's Outings
  • 1869: Hitherto (The 1905 New International Encyclopedia expresses the opinion that here “the period of her best work ends.”)[2]
  • 1870: We Girls
  • 1871: Real Folks
  • 1872: Pansies (poems)
  • 1873: The Other Girls
  • 1876: Sights and Insights
  • 1878: Just How: A Key to the Cook Books
  • 1880: Odd or Even
  • 1885: Bonnyborough
  • 1886: Homespun Yarns
  • 1886: Holy Tides
  • 1887: Daffodils
  • 1888: Bird Talk
  • 1890: Ascutney Street
  • 1891: A Golden Gossip
  • 1894: Square Pegs
  • 1896: Friendly Letters to Girl Friends
  • 1897: The Open Mystery: A Reading of the Mosaic Story
  • 1900: The Integrity of Christian Science


  1. ^  Reynolds, Francis J., ed. (1921). "Whitney, Adeline Dutton (Train)". Collier's New Encyclopedia. New York: P.F. Collier & Son Company. 
  2. ^ Wikisource-logo.svg Gilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "Whitney, Adeline Dutton (Train)". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead. 

External links[edit]