Agnes Repplier

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Agnes Repplier
Agnes Repplier C.jpg
Born (1855-04-01)April 1, 1855
Died November 15, 1950(1950-11-15) (aged 95)
Resting place Saint John the Evangelist church, Philadelphia
Notable works In Our Convent Days (1905), Points of Friction (1920)

Agnes Repplier (April 1, 1855 – November 15, 1950) was an American essayist.[1][2]


She was born in Philadelphia, of French and German extraction,[3] and was educated at the Sacred Heart Convent at Torresdale, Philadelphia and later at the Agnes Irwin School. She was one of America's chief representatives of the discursive essay,[4] displaying wide reading and apt quotation. Her writings contain literary criticism as well as comments on contemporary life. These characteristics were already apparent in the first essay which she contributed to the Atlantic Monthly (April 1886), entitled “Children, Past and Present.”[5]

Repplier's earliest national publications appeared in 1881 in Catholic World. Although she did write several biographies and some fiction, early in her career she decided to concentrate on essays, and for 50 years she enjoyed a national reputation. She was awarded honorary degrees by the University of Pennsylvania (1902), Notre Dame (1911), Yale (1925), and Columbia University (1927).[6]

She was a heavy smoker, and had a conservative's outlook on the issues of the day.[3]


Essay collections[edit]

  • Books and Men (1888)
  • Points of View (1891)
  • Essays in Miniature (1892)
  • Essays in Idleness (1893)
  • In the Dozy Hours (1894)
  • Varia (1897)
  • Philadelphia: The Place and the People (1898)
  • The Fireside Sphinx (1901)
  • Compromises (1904)
  • In Our Convent Days (1905)
  • A Happy Half Century (1908)
  • Americans and Others (1912)
  • The Cat (1912)
  • Counter Currents (1915)
  • Points of Friction (1920)
  • Under Dispute (1924)
  • To Think of Tea! (1931)
  • Times and Tendencies (1931)
  • In Pursuit of Laughter (1936)
  • Eight Decades (1937)
  • American Austen: The Forgotten Writing of Agnes Repplier (2009)[7]

Biographical studies[edit]

Short stories[edit]

Selected articles[edit]


  • Germany and Democracy (1914)
  • In Pursuit of Laughter (1936), a historical study of types of humor.


  1. ^ "Agnes Repplier, Essayist," Woman's Progress, Vol. 2, pp. 147–153.
  2. ^ Chase, Mary Ellen (1933). "The Dean of American Essayists," The Commonweal, Vol. 18, pp. 384–386.
  3. ^ a b Paul R. Messbarger (1974). "Repplier, Agnes". Dictionary of American Biography. Supplement Four 1946-1950. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. 
  4. ^ Reilly, Joseph J. (1938–39). "The Daughter of Addison," The Catholic World, Vol. 148, pp. 158–166.
  5. ^  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChisholm, Hugh, ed. (1922). "Repplier, Agnes". Encyclopædia Britannica (12th ed.). London & New York. 
  6. ^ Rickenbacker, William F. (1994). "Agnes Repplier Revisited," Modern Age, Vol. 36, No. 4, p. 341.
  7. ^ Dirda, Michael (2009). "Michael Dirda on 'American Austen: The Forgotten Writing of Agnes Repplier'," The Washington Post.

Further reading[edit]

  • Breed, Charles Everett (1994). Agnes Repplier, American Essayist: The force of Character, the Consolation of Civility. Ph.D. diss. University of Michigan.
  • Horchler, Dora (1961). "The Essays of Agnes Repplier," Modern Age, Vol. 5, No. 3, pp. 311–316.
  • Lukacs, John (1980). Philadelphia: Patricians and Philistines, 1900–1950. New York: Farrar, Straus, Giroux.
  • Repplier, Emma (1957). Agnes Repplier: A Memoir. Philadelphia: Dorrance and Company.
  • Schelling, Felix E. (1922). "Our Miss Repplier." In: Appraisements and Asperities. Philadelphia & London: J.B. Lippincott Company, pp. 21–26.
  • Stokes, George Stewart (1949). Agnes Repplier: Lady of Letters. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
  • Sweeney, Francis (1951). "Miss Repplier of Philadelphia," The Catholic World, Vol. 173, pp. 278–283.
  • Walker, Nancy and Zita Dresner (1988). Redressing the Imbalance: American Women’s Literary Humor from Colonial Times to the 1980s. Jackson, Miss.: University of Mississippi Press.
  • White, James A. (1957). The Era of Good Intentions: A Survey of American Catholics Writing between the Years 1889–1915. Ph.D. diss. University of Notre Dame.

External links[edit]