When Gene Stratton-Porter wrote “Freckles” in 1904, one wonders if she could imagine how
beloved the character of “Freckles” would become. Over one-hundred years later, generations
have read and re-read the book. “Freckles” has become woven into the rich history of
The character of Freckles was based on a real man named Ray Boze, who worked for Gene and her husband, Charles Porter [see Blog 9/9/2014]. Freckles was an orphan who did not know his family history. He came to Limberlost to work for Mr. McLean and to guard his lumber tract. He soon grew to love the beauty of the nature in the Limberlost.
A few years after the book was published by Doubleday and Page, it was made into a comedy-
drama for the stage in Great Britain. Shortly afterwards, Neil Twomey’s “Freckles” came to
American stages. The play would tour the country and be performed numerous times in a number of cities over the next decade.
Critics gave wonderful reviews of the play and of Gene Stratton-Porter’s book. One who wrote
for the Leavenworth Post (Kansas), stated that, “He has transferred the spirit of the wild-wood, visualized the delightful characters of the story and woven incidents into a play of tremendous power, the bright particular star of which is the little, one-handed, freckle faced, red headed waif of fiction fame, who has enshrined himself in the hearts of millions of people who have followed him through the pages of Gene Stratton-Porter’s remarkable books.
Some other praises for “Freckles” the play from New York newspapers:
New York Press----The piece fairly abounds in what has been termed “the punch,” in the drama.
New York Sun ---Stirring scenes and strong, gripping, dramatic situations.
New York Evening Journal---“Freckles” scores success by its naturalness.
New York Telegraph----The unique nature of the settings and the story are both attractive,
interesting and well acted.
New York Herald---A novelty.
New York Times ----Tremendously successful.
New York American---Interesting at all times.
During this time period, Gene was inspired by the Limberlost and created some of her best loved characters. A number of these characters were based on people or were composites of people who lived in Geneva. Over one-hundred years later, she is still being “discovered” by new audiences who have become fans of her writings.
Several of Gene’s books were made into plays and movies. Not too many authors today can