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This article is from the Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, 6 volumes, edited by William S. Powell. Copyright ©1979-1996 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Kirkland, Winifred Margaretta

by Richard Walser, 1988

25 Nov. 1872–14 May 1943

Winifred Margaretta Kirkland, writer, was born in Columbia, Pa., the oldest child of George Henry and Emma Matilda Reagan Kirkland. After attending Packer Institute in Brooklyn, she received the A.B. degree from Vassar College in 1897, then spent two years at Bryn Mawr College as a graduate student. For many years she taught English in private schools in Bryn Mawr and Baltimore.

In 1903 the Youth's Companion published her story "The Mistress of Corridor B," which was followed by other periodical acceptances. The first of her thirty-four books was Polly Pat's Parish (1907), a juvenile. In 1908 Miss Kirkland gave up teaching to devote full time to writing. Until 1924 she lived at 46 Panola Place in Asheville, to which her father, an Episcopal clergyman, had retired. The Patterson Memorial Cup was presented to her in 1920 for The View Vertical and Other Essays as the work displaying "the greatest excellence and the highest literary skill and genius" by a resident North Carolinian. Her last years were spent in New York City and Sewanee, Tenn., where she died. She was survived by a brother and a sister, Frances.

Among the informal essays in The View Vertical are friendly excursions into "Drudgery as a Fine Art," "Courtesies and Calories," "Robinson Crusoe Re-read," and "The Pleasures of the Preposition." The Littleville of My Little Town (1917) is presumably Asheville, and in the book the author tells about the Christmas season at "our little Rectory." The Joys of Being a Woman, and Other Papers (1918) is a volume of early feminist essays by "a ministerial child." Chaos and a Creed (1925), first published under the pseudonym of James Priceman, was reissued five years later as "by Winifred Kirkland." With her sister Frances, she collaborated on five books (1930–34) about the girlhoods of famous women. The Easter People: A Pen-Picture of the Moravian Celebration of Resurrection appeared in 1923. Among her twenty-one titles on religious subjects, thirteen are brief gift books, a few of which were previously published in the Atlantic Monthly . She wrote four juvenile novels.


Files in the Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, and in the alumnae offices at Vassar College and Bryn Mawr College

New York Times , 15 May 1943

North Carolina Authors (1952)

Who Was Who in America , vol. 2 (1950)

At the Vassar College Library there is a collection, though incomplete, of Miss Kirkland's magazine articles and books.

Additional Resources:

Harper's Magazine:


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