Sarah Orne Jewett House


In Sarah’s day, it was not an unheard-of gesture to etch one’s name in a one’s own house window. There is a long royal tradition of scratching messages in glass, allegedly dating back to Queen Elizabeth I. Scratching one’s name in a window was akin to a kind of deeply felt signing of a guest book, so that one’s presence at a place would not be forgotten.

That Sarah Orne Jewett scratched her monogram into the glass window of her bedroom speaks to how she cherished her home.

The etching itself speaks to how fond Jewett was of her monogram. Sarah Orne Jewett had an awareness about her identity, about what she wanted to do with her life and how she wanted to live. Her monogram seems to have symbolized that identity to her. Generally, in signing a letter to an acquaintance, she would write “Sarah Orne Jewett, or Sarah O. Jewett.” To her close circle of friends, she signed “S.O.J.”