Monday, August 17, 2015

"The Yellow Wallpaper" Writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman Commits Suicide in Pasadena 1935

Charlotte Perkins Gilman (July 3, 1860 – August 17, 1935) was a prominent American feminist, sociologist, novelist, writer of short stories, poetry, and nonfiction, and a lecturer for social reform. She was a utopian feminist during a time when her accomplishments were exceptional for women, and she served as a role model for future generations of feminists because of her unorthodox concepts and lifestyle. Her best remembered work today is her semi-autobiographical short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" which she wrote after a severe bout of postpartum psychosis.

In January 1932, Gilman was diagnosed with incurable breast cancer. An advocate of euthanasia for the terminally ill, Gilman committed suicide on August 17, 1935 by taking an overdose of chloroform. In both her autobiography and suicide note, she wrote that she "chose chloroform over cancer" and she died quickly and quietly.

The Pasadena Victorian house where she lived and committed suicide was originally located at 239 S. Catalina Avenue. It was moved and restored to 438 Cypress Avenue in the Lincoln Triangle neighborhood of Pasadena.


  1. Sad ending for those who only have hope in life and earthly things.

    1. Seriously? Do you think she's in hell because she killed herself? Do you think it would have been better for her, at a time when there was absolutely no treatment, to suffer hideously for months or years before dying? She ignored fairy tales, accepted truth and reality, and made a wise and courageous decision, especially for that time. People still insist on months or years of treatment, often in a futile attempt to cling to an existence of no quality because they fear death, and still suffer terribly before they die. Honey, I was an RN for 25 years, most of it spent working in oncology and hospice. I've seen it. All of it. Nature and god are indifferent to human suffering.

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