One of Maine's most well known writers, Sarah Orne Jewett, grew up in South Berwick, where she accompanied her physician-father on his rounds throughout the region. On those rounds she learned more about New England people and their culture than she did in school. Many of her father's patients found echoes of themselves in her later works. Jewett published her first story, "Mr. Bruce," at the young age of nineteen. Several years later, she published her first collection of stories, Deephaven. Though Jewett lived most of her life in her family home in South Berwick, she spent some time in Boston, where she quickly became part of Boston's literary circle, sharing ideas with such writers and publishers as W.D. Howells, Alfred Tennyson, Daphne Du Maurier, and Henry James. She became close with Annie Fields, Howells' wife, and after his death, the two women lived together in Boston and Berwick for the rest of their lives. Jewett's stories and novels depict the New England rural life that was quickly vanishing with the onset of the Industrial Revolution. She reached her peak with her collection The Country of Pointed Firs. Bowdoin awarded her with the first Litt.D. it had given to a woman in 1901.
Jewett's star has continued to rise with each decade with both literary critics and social historians. Her life has been the subject of several excellent biographies and her house in South Berwick is open to the public through the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities.