5 Incredible Female Authors to Celebrate Old Maid’s Day

Old Maid’s Day celebrates women who choose to stay single. Let’s celebrate the holiday by taking a look at some amazing female authors who never married!

Author's Corner Book Culture Classics Female Authors Female Voices
Happy woman holding flowers, facing away

Today is Old Maid’s Day, a strange holiday that you’ve probably never heard of. According to National Today, the holiday was created after World War II. Once the war ended and soldiers returned home, many women were still left single as their partners had sacrificed their lives. Marion Richards decided to take today to celebrate these women.

“Old maid” has long been a stigmatized term, often implying pressure for women to marry. However, this pressure is unevenly bestowed between men and women—for example, unmarried men are called “bachelors,” which lacks the same derogatory implication. In this article, we want to recognize that marital status has nothing to do with a woman’s identity. Remaining unmarried is a path many people take, and we want to acknowledge these people and encourage them not to feel pressured or less-than for their personal choice!

Louisa May Alcott

Portrait of Louisa May Alcott, c. 1870
IMAGE BY GEORGE KENDALL WARREN

Louisa May Alcott was born in 1832 and grew up in a family struggling from financial demands. She took up writing as a way to earn money and help her family. While she wrote many short stories, she is best known for her book, Little Women, and its sequels. This book follows the lives of four sisters and is largely autobiographical. It’s commonly believed that main character Jo, who wished to remain single and gain success as an author, was based on Alcott herself.

Emily Dickinson

Daguerreotype taken at Mount Holyoke of Emily Dickinson, c. 1846
IMAGE FROM MOUNT HOLYOKE, PHOTOGRAPHER UNKNOWN

Emily Dickinson was born in 1830 and is the only woman on this list who never published any novels, focusing on poetry instead. She lived most of her life in isolation, relying on written correspondence to maintain any relationships. In her later life, she became largely unwilling to even leave her bedroom. Of the nearly 1,800 poems written, she only published 10! It was not until after her death that her sister found the rest of her work and had it published. Her style was very unique for its time and flouted the usual rules of poetry.

Jane Austen

Colored version of Jane Austen's 1873 portrait
IMAGE VIA EVERETT COLLECTION

Jane Austen was born in 1775 and is famous for several of her works, including Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. Her novels have inspired countless adaptations (including Bridget Jones’s Diary and Clueless) and remain popular today. In the late 1790s, she received a proposal from friend and neighbor Tom Lefroy. Her letters to her sister seem to indicate that, while she was genuinely interested in him, she rejected him a few days later.

Harper Lee

Photo of Harper Lee, taken by close friend Truman Capote, 1960
IMAGE BY TRUMAN CAPOTE

Born in 1926, renowned author of To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee was an amazingly skilled writer. Though this was her only book published during her lifetime, it is widely known, frequently taught in American schools, and won a Pulitzer Prize. As it is partially based on Lee’s own childhood in the South, it deals with issues of racial inequality while also maintaining a childlike voice of her young narrator. Harper Lee also is known for helping her close friend and fellow writer, Truman Capote, write In Cold Blood.

Emily Brontë

Portrait of Emily Brontë; part of group portrait by brother Branwell Brontë
IMAGE BY PATRICK BRANWELL BRONTË

Born in 1818, Emily Brontë is known for her only published novel, Wuthering Heights. In addition to this famous story of Cathy and Heathcliff, she also published a book of poetry with her sisters, Charlotte and Anne. Emily was shy but brave, committed to her studies, and closest to her sister Anne. She found more interest in writing, nature, and her family than any romantic attachments.

If you want to learn more about amazing female writers, look here!

FEATURED IMAGE VIA PRISCILLA DU PREEZ