navigation bar Houghton Mifflin Social Studies United States History: Early Years
Biographies Unit Biographies

Anne Bradstreet 1612–1672
The First American Poet

Anne Bradstreet grew up in an English castle where her father worked. She was very well educated compared to other young English girls in the 1600s. Most girls did not go to school. Bradstreet spent much of her time learning in the castle library with tutors.

In 1630, Bradstreet traveled to the Massachusetts Bay Colony in North America with her parents and her husband. They wanted to lead a religious Puritan life, far away from the strict rules of the English church.

Bradstreet wrote many poems about her new life in Massachusetts, her family of eight children, and her religious faith. The poems are uncommon because Bradstreet was a well-educated, Puritan woman living in the early colonies. She did not intend to publish her poems, but her brother-in-law published them without her permission—making Anne Bradstreet the first poet, male or female, to be published in North America.

Comprehension Check

In what way did Anne Bradstreet receive her education?

Critical Thinking

Compare education for girls today with education for girls in the 1600s. Why do you think that education for girls today is different?