Tenney, Tabitha Gilman

Tenney, Tabitha Gilman

(1762–1837) anthologist, writer; born in Exeter, N.H. Raised in a Puritanical, bookish, and somewhat secluded atmosphere in a noted New Hampshire family, she acquired the intellectual and gentlewomanly accomplishments expected of her. In 1788 she married Samuel Tenney, a surgeon who turned to politics after the American Revolution, serving in the U.S. House of Representatives (1800–07). In 1799 she published The Pleasing Instructor, an anthology of poetry and selections from classical writers intended to improve the character and conduct of young women; no copies have survived. She remains known chiefly for her two-volume novel, Female Quixotism: Exhibited in the Romantic Opinions and Extravagant Adventures of Dorcasina Sheldon (1801), a satire on literary tastes and an expression of American intellectual independence.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.