Kate Douglas Wiggin's beloved classic of children's literature was an immediate bestseller when it was first published in 1903. The author spent part of her childhood in rural Maine, where Kate Douglas Wiggin sets the book. The optimistic and spirited main character, Rebecca Rowena Randall is sent to live with her two strict and dour aunts in the fictional town of Riverboro, Maine. Though she is, according to her aunts, more like her shiftless father than her accomplished mother, Rebecca's joy of life, in the end, inspires them. The enormously popular story was adapted for a Broadway play in 1907, and was made into several films, including a 1938 version starring Shirley Temple. Wiggin spent her life dedicated to children's welfare. She headed the first free kindergarten in California, in the slums of San Francisco, and established a kindergarten teachers' training school with her sister. Her writing career, which began as a means of raising money for her school, spanned four decades. After the death of her first husband in 1889, she relocated back to Maine, where her summer home in Hollis is now the home to the town's Salmon Falls Library.