Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch

Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch is a 1901 novel by American author Alice Hegan Rice, telling of a southern family's humorously coping with poverty. The book was highly popular on its release,[1] and has been adapted to film several times.

Rice was inspired to write the book during her "philanthropic work in a Louisville, Kentucky slum area, where she met an optimistic and cheerful woman" who served as the model for the book's main character.[1]

The setting of the book is a white turn-of-the-century urban slum, with two somewhat wealthy individuals wanting to help the inhabitants. The title character is a widow with several daughters—named after the continents, because she thinks that geographical names are refined—and an employed young son, who dies before the middle of the book.

In 1904 the book was premiered as a play on Broadway. It was written by Anne Crawford Flexner, starring Madge Carr Cook.[2] It had been performed in October 1903 in Louisville, Kentucky. Helen Lowell who appeared in the cast was able to tour to Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii and across America for the next seven years playing Miss Hazy "in the Cabbage Patch".[3]

As of 1997, the book had sold more than 650,000 copies in a hundred printings.[1]

Film adaptations include:


  1. Lowell Hayes Harrison, A New History of Kentucky (1997), p. 324.
  2. Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch on Broadway at Savoy Theatre, September 1904 – January 1905
  3. Axel Nissen (12 August 2016). Accustomed to Her Face: Thirty-Five Character Actresses of Golden Age Hollywood. McFarland. pp. 116–. ISBN 978-0-7864-9732-4.

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