Date of Award


Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Richard S. Sprague

Second Committee Member

Milford E. Wence

Third Committee Member

Carroll F. Terrell

Additional Committee Members

George K. Manlove


The writer became interested in the lack of information relating to the little-known Maine author of the nineteenth century, Osgood Bradbury. This biobibliographical study carries out a review of his life and work. Bradbury is almost completely unknown in Maine literary circles in spite of having written nearly sixty novels. Many aspects of his life are as nebulous as many of the characters in his own stories. Even his birthdate is suspect, although there is some evidence to indicate that he was born in 1795, in New Gloucester, Maine. The writer found no evidence of his whereabouts from his birthdate to 1823, until she discovered a letter in his own hand in the Chandler Family records. Other evidence indicates that Bradbury lived in and around New Gloucester during these years until 1844, when he is found listed in the Boston City Directory as a "counsellor." In 1845, at the age of fifty, Bradbury married a much younger woman in Vermont, but no evidence was found to place him anywhere but in Boston. There is evidence, however, that he returned to Maine in 1862, this time to Portland where he became the associate editor and later editor of the Portland Advertiser. In 1874, Bradbury is found making a speech at the centennial celebration of New Gloucester. This speech revealed some interesting facets of his life and was helpful to the biographical phase of this study. The United States Census of 1880 listed him as living in New Gloucester and indicated that he was a lawyer. And, finally, in 1886, a meager light-line obituary in the Boston Evening Transcript carried the news of his death at age ninety-one in New Gloucester.

Osgood Bradbury left no children, but he did leave a large "family" of novels. Although these novels have not been recognized by literary critics or historians, they do provide an insight into the character and personality of the man and his involvement in the social and political scene of his time. In his literary work very little has been known about him as many of his works were either unsigned or identified only as "by a member of the Suffolk Bar," for example. In many of his novels the reader is aware of his personal crusade for temperance. He made his temperance novels vehicles for teaching. In other stories, he seemed obsessed with the brothels of the day and prostitution in general. Illegitimacy is also a recurring theme along with other social ills such as the plight of widows and orphans, the infidelity of husbands, and even murder. These also show the evidence of his Christian character and his interest in women's rights. Each of the novels is studied and the annotations recount the plot and attempt to relate elements in each story to the experiences, character, and personality of Osgood Bradbury as a man and member of the society in which he found himself.

Much information about Bradbury has been discovered but there still remains much about him that is unknown.

Includes photoprints of covers from five of Osgood Bradbury's novels: Mattalak, the Lone Indian of the Magalloway; Alice Marvin, or, The Fisherman's Daughter; Francis Abbott, or, The Hermit of Niagara; Larooka, The Belle of the Belle of the Penobscots; Isabelle, or, The Emigrant's Daughter.