Sarah Orne Jewett House

Mary Rice Jewett

Mary Rice Jewett (June 18, 1847- September 28, 1930), Sarah’s older sister by two years, inherited the house with Sarah in 1887 and participated in its eclectic interior design. While Sarah was away months at a time, Mary stayed in South Berwick year-round. Though she did travel occasionally, Mary was a central figure in the town. She was a charter member of the Woman’s Club and active in her church community and in children’s aid organizations. Mary sat on the Berwick Academy library committee and was a member of the Maine and New Hampshire Historical Societies.

Letters between Sarah and Mary show a sisterhood imbued with deep friendship. Sarah’s nickname for Mary was O.P., for Old Peg, and Mary’s for Sarah was Queen of Sheba, or Sheby. Like her famous sister, Mary never married. In many ways, Mary supported Sarah’s writing career by running the household, affording Sarah much needed time at her desk.