Those who dream of writing a book some day may draw inspiration from Stephen Crane and Mary Mapes Dodge, two Newarkers, who both became authors. Stephen Crane wrote books for adults; Mary Mapes Dodge wrote children’s books. Even though Crane and Dodge were two different types of writers, they both loved writing and were accomplished poets.
Stephen Crane was born in Newark, New Jersey on November 1, 1871. At the age of four, he was already brilliant, for he taught himself to read and write. At age 16, his articles were published. He graduated from Lafayette College and Syracuse University in 1891. As a free-lance writer, he struggled to make a living but stood out from other writers by contributing fine articles. He made his mark in American literature when his novel, “The Red Badge of Courage” was published in 1895, a Civil War novel that is still popular today.
Not only was Crane a great novelist, he was also a journalist and a short story writer. He was a journalist in Cuba and Greece in 1897. When he traveled to Cuba as a war correspondent, his ship sank off the coast of Florida for a few days. His ordeal at sea served as his inspiration for the short story, “The Open Boat.”
At the age of 28, Crane died of tuberculosis. In his short life, he accomplished so much becoming a renowned American author. He influenced Ernest Hemingway and many other American writers.
Mary Mapes Dodge was born in Newark, New Jersey on January 26, 1831. She shared a love of writing with her father and worked fervently with him to publish two magazines: the Working Farmer and the United States Journal. In 1865, Dodge’s children’s novel, Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates” was published; it became a bestseller and children still read the work today.
During her literary career, Dodge was also an excellent editor. She became the first editor and contributor to St. Nicholas Magazine, a publication for children that circulated almost 70,000 copies in the 2nd half of the nineteenth century. Some famous authors who published stories in St. Nicholas Magazine were Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott and Louis Stevenson.
At the Main Newark Public Library, there is a tablet honoring Stephen Crane. At Asbury Park in New Jersey, the Stephen Crane House, where the Crane family lived for nine years, is a museum dedicated to the literary works and life of Crane. At Maple Avenue School in Newark, New Jersey, there is a tablet commemorating Mary Mapes Dodge contributions to children’s literature. The works of Crane and Dodge will always be immortal in the world of American literature.