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Mary Mapes Dodge (1831-1905) Tablet
Source, Maple Avenue School, Newark, New Jersey, 1948
Courtesy, Penny Colman Collection

Mary Mapes was born on January 26, 1831 in Newark, New Jersey. At the age of 28, she became a widow with two young children. Determined to to support her family, she began writing children’s stories, which she first tried out on her own children. In 1865, she published “Hans Brinker; or The Silver Skates.” The  book was a huge success and is now considered a classic of children’s literature. In 1873 Mapes became the first editor of St. Nicholas Magazine, a popular 19th century magazine for children that published renowned authors such as Louisa May Alcott, Frances Hodgson Burnett and Mark Twain.

 In the late 1940s, the pupils of the Newark Public schools were involved in getting this plaque placed in the Maple Avenue School, Newark, New Jersey.
It reads:


TO THE MEMORY OF MARY MAPES DODGE BORN JANUARY 26, 1831- DIED AUGUST 21, 1905.

DURING THE MID-NINETEENTH CENTURY A RESIDENT OF THE PRESENT CITY OF NEWARK. AUTHOR OF THE CHILDREN’S CLASSIC “HANS BRINKER, OR, THE SILVER SKATES” A TALE OF LIFE IN HOLLAND WHICH HAS BEEN TRANSLATED INTO MANY LANGUAGES.

AS THE FIRST EDITOR OF THE MAGAZINE ST. NICHOLAS SHE ESTABLISHED NEW STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE IN JUVENILE LITERATURE AND ATTRACTED TO ITS PAGES THE MOST IMPORTANT WRITERS OF HER DAY.

MAPES AVENUE WAS NAMED FOR HER FATHER THE EMINENT SCIENTIST, JAMES JAY MAPES.

Erected by the Schoolmen’s Club with the Assistance of the pupils of the Newark Public Schools. Newark Day, May 1, 1948

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