Sarah Orne Jewett House

Betty Leicester’s Christmas

Betty Leicester’s Christmas (1899). Sarah Wyman Whitman designed the cover for this holiday story for youth.

Sarah Orne Jewett references Whitman’s design for this sequel’s original, Betty Leicester, 1890, to introduce this story: “There was once a story-book girl named Betty Leicester, who lived in a small square book bound in scarlet and white.” -Sarah Orne Jewett (Betty Leicester’s Christmas, 1899)

In letters, Sarah Orne Jewett mentioned a fondness for her title character who, with her free spirit, was something of an alter-ego.

Sarah Orne Jewett and Sarah Wyman Whitman were close friends at the center of Boston society and particularly its artist set. While Jewett was described as lady-like and possessing an unassuming charm, Whitman had a larger than life personality, dressing herself in eye-catching hues (compared with the usually black or navy blue of Jewett’s elegant attire), jewelry, and hats.