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About Mary Tappan Wright.
Bibliography |  Note

     The following account of the author is largely reproduced from the Wikipedia article about her at, as it existed on December 21, 2007. Its use here is not really plagiarism, because I wrote the article.

     Mary Tappan Wright (1851-1916) was an American novelist and short story writer best known for her acute characterizations and depictions of academic life. She was the wife of classical scholar John Henry Wright and the mother of legal scholar and utopian novelist Austin Tappan Wright and geographer John Kirtland Wright.
     Wright was born Mary Tappan December 18, 1851 in Steubenville, Ohio,1 the daughter of Eli Todd Tappan, president of Kenyon College, and Lydia (McDowell) Tappan. She married, April 2, 1878, John Henry Wright, then an associate professor of Greek at Dartmouth College and later professor of classical philology and dean of the Collegiate Board of Johns Hopkins University, professor of Greek at Harvard University, and dean of Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The couple had three children, Elizabeth Tappan Wright (who died young), Austin Tappan Wright, and John Kirtland Wright. They lived successively in Hanover, New Hampshire, Baltimore, Maryland and Cambridge, Massachusetts, aside from one period during which John was a professor at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, when they resided in Greece.2 Wright’s husband died November 25, 1908, and she herself died August 28, 1917 in Cambridge.3 She was survived by her two sons.
     Wright’s first published story was “As Haggards of the Rock” (May 1890); it and other early stories (“A Truce,” “A Portion of the Tempest,” “From Macedonia,” “Deep as First Love,” and “A Fragment of a Play, With a Chorus”) were collected in her first book, A Truce, and Other Stories (1895). None of her subsequent short stories were gathered into book form.
     Much of her fiction, including her first, third and fourth novels, dealt with American university life. Of these the earliest, Aliens (1902), attracted much attention when it appeared for its portrait of contemporary northerners in a racially tense Southern college town. The Tower (1906) was described as “a love story placed against the life of a college community taken from the faculty side and told with deep understanding and the most delicate art”4 and The Charioteers (1912) as “a story of the social life and environment of college professors and their families.”5
     Wright’s second novel, The Test (1904), the story of a wronged young woman, was something of a departure, and received mixed reviews for what some perceived as its unpleasant subject matter and unsympathetic characters, though it was generally praised as well-written.6 7 8
     Wright’s first four books were published by Charles Scribner’s Sons, the fifth being issued by D. Appleton & Company. About half of her short pieces appeared in Scribner’s Magazine; others appeared in The Youth's Companion, Christian Union, The Outlook, The Independent, Harper’s Magazine, and Harper’s Weekly. She also contributed a book review to the North American Review.
     In her writing Wright was praised as having “a keen sense of humor, good descriptive powers, a good working knowledge of human nature, an effective style” and the ability to “tell a story well.”9 Her skill at characterization was also noted.10
     Wright’s papers, including correspondence and original manuscripts and fragments, are found in various archival collections the Harvard University Library and the Houghton Library at Harvard College. An early commonplace book from 1870-77, containing mostly poetry, is in the Stone-Wright family papers at the Massachusetts Historical Society.


  • 1. Lexikon der Frau in zwei Bünden. Band II, I-Z. Zürich, Encyclios Verlag 1954, p. 1662.
  • 2. “Among the Authors” – article, New York Times, July 14, 1912, p. BR412.
  • 3. Lexikon der Frau in zwei Bünden. Band II, I-Z. Zürich, Encyclios Verlag 1954, p. 1662. Other sources do not provide a date, and give the year of her death as 1916.
  • 4. “Scribner Spring Books” – display advertisement, New York Times, April 7, 1906, p. BR207.
  • 5. “Among the Authors” – article, New York Times, July 14, 1912, p. BR412.
  • 6. “A Study of Conscience” – review, New York Times, April 30, 1904, p. BR296.
  • 7. “Some February Books” – article, New York Times, January 30, 1904, p. BR66.
  • 8. Peattie, Elia W. “More Plays by Mr. Yeats” – review of these and other works, Chicago Daily Tribune, April 2, 1904, p. 13.
  • 9. “A Study of Conscience” – review, New York Times, April 30, 1904, p. BR296.
  • 10. The Encyclopedia Americana: A Library of Universal Knowledge. New York, The Encyclopedia American Corporation, 1920, p. 570.
General references
  • American Authors and Books. 1640 to the present day. Third revised edition. By W.J. Burke and Will D. Howe. Revised by Irving Weiss and Anne Weiss. New York: Crown Publishers, 1972.
  • Adams, Oscar Fay A Dictionary of American Authors. Boston: Houghton Mifflin and Company, 1897.
  • Coyle, William, ed. Ohio Authors and Their Books. Biographical data and selective bibliographies for Ohio authors, native and resident, 1796-1950. Cleveland: World Publishing Co., 1962.
  • The Encyclopedia Americana: A Library of Universal Knowledge. New York: Encyclopedia Americana Corporation, 1920, p. 570.
  • Leonard, John William, ed. Woman’s Who’s Who of America. A biographical dictionary of contemporary women of the United States and Canada, 1914-1915. Edited by John William Leonard. New York: American Commonwealth Co., 1914.
  • Lexikon der Frau in zwei Bünden. Band II, I-Z. Zürich, Encyclios Verlag 1954, p. 1662.
  • Wallace, W. Stewart. A Dictionary of North American Authors Deceased before 1950. Toronto: Ryerson Press, 1951.
  • Warner, Charles Dudley, ed. Biographical Dictionary and Synopsis of Books Ancient and Modern. Akron, OH: Werner Co., 1902.
  • Who Was Who in America. Volume 1, 1897-1942. Chicago: A. N. Marquis Company, 1943.
  • Who’s Who in America, a Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of the United States, 1903-1905. Chicago: A. N. Marquis & Company, 1903, p. 1658.
  • Who’s Who in New England . 2nd ed. Chicago, A. N. Marquis & Company, 1916. p. 1186.
A Bibliography of Wright's Known Published Writings.
About MTW |  Note

     The following listing is as complete as current knowledge allows. It was compiled on the basis of the online OCLC database of the holdings of numerous libraries around the country and the world, the venerable literary magazine index The Reader's Guide to Periodical Literature and its online counterpart The Reader's Guide Retrospective (which however erroneously attributes to Wright one story, "Limitations," written by Edith Wyatt), and the invaluable electronic historical compendium of Amerian magazines American Peridicals Series Online, 1740-1900. All of these resources provide comparatively comprehensive coverage of prominent publications while neglecting to a greater or lesser degree the more obscure. It is more than likely that some of Wright's published tales have eluded the net, and remain to be rediscovered by some enterprising researcher.
     It should be noted that a considerable number of unpublished stories, along with drafts and fragments, are also preserved among Wright's papers at the Harvard University Library.


  • Aliens (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1902)
  • The Test (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1904)
  • The Tower (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1906)
  • The Charioteers (D. Appleton & Company, 1912)
  • A Truce, and Other Stories (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1895)
Short stories
  • “As Haggards of the Rock” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 7, no. 5, May 1890)
  • “Beginning Alone” (The Youth's Companion, v. 63, no. 36, Sep. 4, 1890, v. 63, no. 37, Sep. 11, 1890, v. 63, no. 38, Sep. 18, 1890, v. 63, no. 39, Sep. 25, 1890, v. 63, no. 40, Oct, 2, 1890, v. 63, no. 41, Oct. 9, 1890, v. 63, no. 42, Oct. 16, 1890, v. 63, no. 43, Oct. 23, 1890)
  • “A Truce” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 9, no. 1, Jan. 1891)
  • “A Fragment of a Play, With a Chorus” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 9, no. 5, May 1891)
  • “Divided Allegiances” (Christian Union, v. 45, no. 6, Feb. 6, 1892, v. 45, no. 7, Feb. 13, 1892, v. 45, no. 8, Feb. 20, 1892, v. 45, no. 9, Feb. 27, 1892)
  • “A Lad—Dismissed” (The Outlook, v. 48, no. 2, Jul. 8, 1893, v. 48, no. 3, Jul. 15, 1893, v. 48, no. 4, Jul, 22, 1893, v. 48, no. 5, Jul. 29, 1893, v. 48, no. 6, Aug. 5, 1893, v. 48, no. 7, Aug. 12, 1893)
  • “The Gray Fur Rug” (The Youth's Companion, no. 3470, Nov. 23, 1893)
  • “Deep as First Love” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 15, no. 2, Feb. 1894)
  • “A Portion of the Tempest” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 15, no. 6, Jun. 1894)
  • “His Last” (The Youth's Companion, no. 3498, Jun. 7, 1894, no. 3499, Jun. 14, 1894; reprinted in A Boy Lieutenant, ca. 1905, as “His Last Offence, A Story of College Life”)
  • “From Macedonia” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 16, no. 4, Oct. 1894)
  • “Three Fires at Redmont” (The Youth's Companion, no. 3550, Jun. 6, 1895)
  • “Cunliffe” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 20, no. 3, Sep. 1896)
  • “The Key of the Fields” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 23, no. 2, Feb. 1898)
  • “An Exception” (The Independent, v. 51, no. 2616, Jan. 19, 1899; reprinted in Massachusetts Ploughman and New England Journal of Agriculture, v. 58, no. 20, Feb. 11, 1899)
  • “The Best Laid Plans” (projected for publication in The Youth's Companion in 1900, but not published there; possibly not published at all)
  • “A Day Together” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 29, no. 1, Jan. 1901)
  • “Dead Letters” (The Independent, v. 53, no. 2753, Sep. 1901)
  • “A Sacred Concert” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 34, no. 1, Jul. 1903)
  • “Vox” (Harper's Monthly Magazine, v. 107, no. 641, Oct. 1903)
  • “Pro Tempore” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 39, no. 6, Jun. 1906)
  • “The Mountain” (Harper's Weekly, v. 51, no. 2615, Feb. 2, 1907)
  • “Asphodel” (Scribner's Magazine, v. 46, no. 4, Oct. 1909)
  • “The Iron Woman” (review of the novel by Margaret Deland) (North American Review, v. 194, no. 673, Dec. 1911)

A Note on the Text of This Edition.
About MTW  | Bibliography

     Mary Tappan Wright’s known published short stories fall into three groups; twelve that initially appeared in Scribner’s Magazine, issued by Charles Scribner’s Sons, her principle publisher, six that appeared in the religiously or family-oriented journals The Youth's Companion and The Christian Union (later renamed The Outlook), and the rest, which appeared in a variety of other publications. Of the Scribner's stories, the first six were gathered together by the publisher to form Wright’s first book and (hitherto) only story collection, The Truce, and Other Stories (1895).
     In determining how best to present her remaining stories to modern readers in book form, it was decided to treat them as they might have been treated had this been done within her lifetime. In compiling The Truce Scribner utilized only stories previously published in its own magazine, and arranged them on the basis of artistic or aesthetic considerations rather than following the order of original publication. The title of the collection was taken from that of its most lengthy component story. Had Scribner’s issued a second collection similar principles would likely have been applied. Therefore I have compiled the present collection in accordance with those very standards. Herein you will find the six remaining Scribner’s Magazine stories, with the title again taken from the longest of them, and the arrangement likewise selected with an eye to a salubrious reading order. Of the stories here presented the first two concern relationships, the middle two Dulwich, Wright’s fictional college town and favorite venue, and the final pair mortality. I intend to reprint the non-Scribner’s tales in two follow-up collections.
     The texts of the stories are taken from their first appearances in Scribner’s Magazine, photocopied from the bound volumes of the journal held in Green Library at Stanford University. The photocopies were then scanned and the scans produced closely compared against the photocopies to ensure fidelity. While great care has been taken to eliminate errors introduced to the text through this process, it is possible that some remain; if so, the fault and responsibility of them are the present editor’s. Editorial practice has been as follows. Spelling, grammar and punctuation, where they differ from current standards, have been left untouched. Obvious printing errors have been silently corrected. Typography has been brought into accord with modern practice—this has chiefly meant the elimination of superfluous spacing around exclamation points, question marks, and quotation marks, and the reduction of ultra-long dashes. Otherwise the stories you are about to read are identical to the versions that first came under the eye of Wright’s earliest readers one century ago.

—Brian Kunde., Dec. 21, 2007, revised Jan. 17 and 28, 2008.

Introduction from Pro Tempore, and Other Stories by Mary Tappan Wright, edited by Brian Kunde, Mountain House, Fleabonnet Press, 2007. Revised for the web edition. ©2007-2008 by Brian Kunde.

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1st web edition posted 1/22/2008
This page last updated 1/28/2008.

Published by Fleabonnet Press.