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Benigna Machiavelli
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Charlotte Perkins Gilman was born Charlotte Anna Perkins on July 3,1860, in Hartford, Connecticut. She died on August 17, 1935, in Pasadena, California. Her death was a suicide by chloroform, a decision she made as a result of a breast cancer diagnosed as fatal. In an article regarding suicide, she had written that it was "an insult to allow death in pitiful degradation." As in so many things, Gilman was ahead of her time in her views on euthanasia. Although this particular article was written knowing she was going to take her life, she had addressed the subject of suicide long before. Lyman Beecher was her great grandfather on her paternal side, and she was influenced by this remarkable family's progressive ideas and attitudes. When her father, Frederick Beecher Perkins, left his family with little to no financial support, her mother, Mary Fitch Wescott Perkins, had few alternatives; she needed to rely on the charity of relatives, which included the Beechers. As a child, Gilman was visited by her great aunts Harriet Beecher Stowe and Catharine Beecher, the latter widely known in America at the time for having defined "a new role for women within the household." Gilman was sought out and respected by George Bernard Shaw, who asked her to read Candide and give him her opinion. The New York Fabians spoke of her as "a worthy female counterpart of G.B. Shaw." When H.G. Wells came to the United States in 1904, she was the one person he asked to meet. Theodore Dreiser also asked to meet her.

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