Born in Moravia, New York, poet Sophie Jewett was the daughter of a country doctor. Her childhood was marked by loss and displacement. When she was seven years old, her mother died, and Jewett was summoned from sleep to observe her passing; her father died two years later. After his death, Jewett and her three siblings moved to Buffalo to live with their uncle and grandmother, both of whom died during Jewett’s adolescence.
Jewett then turned to her minister, the Reverend Wolcott Calkins, and his daughter Mary Whiton Calkins for support. The Calkinses encouraged Jewett’s literary interest, and Mary later co-edited Jewett’s final, posthumous collection of poetry.
Jewett’s early writing was enhanced by her experiences traveling to England and Italy. Her poetry often finds its shape in the sonnet form, and frequently takes as its subject intimacy between women. Jewett’s poetry collections include The Pilgrim, and Other Poems (1896) and God’s Troubadour (1903), as well as a translation from Middle English of The Pearl (1908).
In 1889 Jewett began a career teaching English at Wellesley College.