Poet Mary Mapes Dodge was born into an academic family in New York, and was educated at home by tutors. At 20 she married a lawyer with whom she had two children. After her husband’s death seven years later, Dodge began her writing career to support her sons.

Dodge’s most famous children’s novel, Hans Brinker; or, The Silver Skates (1865), was inspired by historian John Lothrop Motley’s The Rise of the Dutch Republic and The History of the United Netherlands. It won an award from the French Academy and brought Dodge lasting popular attention.

Dodge worked as an associate editor for Hearth and Home magazine alongside Harriet Beecher Stowe, and was the first editor of the children’s magazine St. Nicholas, which included contributors Louisa May Alcott, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, and Frances Hodgson Burnett. Dodge’s story contributions to St. Nicholas are collected in Baby Days (1876) and Baby World (1884).

Dodge published the poetry collection Poems and Verses (1904) as well as the children’s verse collection Rhymes and Jingles (1874). Dodge’s poetry for children often contains gentle moral lessons told in playful, rhymed verse.

Dodge died at her summer cottage in Onteora Park, New York, and is buried at Evergreen Cemetery in Hillside, New Jersey.