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Dear America Wiki

"There will be no more "Mirror, mirror on the wall." Ever since we were little, Elin and I would stand in front of the hall mirror and say: "Mirror, mirror on the wall, who in the realm is the fairest of all?" And then I would say, "You are," and Elin would say, "I am," and we would laugh and laugh and laugh."
—Bess Brennan[4]

Bess Brennan (born April 16, 1921) was the twin sister of Elin Brennan and the daughter of Mrs. and Mr. Brennan. In December 1931, Bess was in a sledding accident which caused her to go blind. She was sent to Perkins School for the Blind, where she became friends with Eva Anderson and Amanda Bright.


Early life[]

She and her twin sister, Elin, were born on April 16, 1921.[2][1] Elin was older by twelve minutes. Their father passed away when they were four-years-old. Her uncle Ted Brennan moved in with the family following his brother's passing. At seven, Bess began to keep diaries and wrote an entry every day for five years.

Life at Perkins[]

In December 1931, Bess was injured during a sledding accident which caused her to go blind. Operations were performed by doctors, but her vision was unable to be saved. Elin stayed by her side and later suggested that she help her write her diary. Ted eventually decided that Bess should go to Perkins School for the Blind in order to adapt better to her new life. Bess was originally against leaving her home in Boston, Massachusetts, but realized it was what she needed. The school was not far away which allowed her to go home on the weekends.

At Perkins, Bess was placed at Bradlee Cottage where she roomed with Eva Anderson and Amanda Bright. Amanda taught her the ropes of Perkins as well as general tips for living as a blind person. As Bess gradually adjusted to Perkins, she became good friends with Amanda and Eva. She enjoyed most of her classes, especially English which was taught by Miss Salinger. Bess also struggled with learning braille and even considered taking up gymnastics again

Later, Miss Salinger began helping Bess write in her diary on Wednesdays since Elin was only able to write on the weekends. On Easter 1932, her mother allowed her to bring Eva and Amanda. Bess's family quickly began to adore Eva. A couple weeks later, Bess was selected to play Rachel in Miss Salinger's play. It was called off when Naomi Walker's father took her out of the school. Eva later became ill, but was able to recovered. Bess's mother and uncle decided to have her stay with them for the summer.

Later life[]

Eva was considered "one of the family" by the time Bess's mother and Ted were able to legally adopt her. Bess, Amanda, and Eva graduated from Perkins in 1938. The following year, Bess went to the work for The Seeing Eye after first becoming interested in the organization in 1933. Her typing and secretarial skills that she learned in her junior and senior years were what enabled her to work for The Seeing Eye. Bess never married but Elin did.

Personality and traits[]

Bess was an introvert, the opposite of her "outgoing and friendly" twin. She and Elin were very different from each other. As such, they disliked when people did not see them as individuals. Bess was very independent and self-sufficient. After her accident, she had to work towards being independent again. Her mother compared Bess to her father, a "poet and a dreamer."

Family tree[]

The Brennan Family Tree
Ted Brennan
Mr. Brennan
(d. 1925)
Mrs. Brennan
Elin Brennan
(b. 1921)
Bess Brennan
(b. 1921)

Behind the scenes[]



See also[]

Dear America characters
Main characters

Remember "Mem" Whipple | Deliverance Trembley | Lozette Moreau | Catharine Logan | Prudence Emerson
Abigail Stewart | Lucinda Lawrence | María Rosalia de Milagros | Hattie Campbell | Mary Driscoll
Florence "Florrie" Mack Ryder | Susanna Fairchild | Clotee Henley | Amelia Martin | Emma Simpson
Sarah Nita | Phillis "Patsy" Frederick | Libby West | Priscilla "Pringle" Rose | Mary "Polly" Rodgers
Nannie Little Rose | Angeline Reddy | Sarah Jane Price | Teresa Viscardi | Anetka Kaminska
Zipporah Feldman | Minette "Minnie" Bonner | Angela Denoto | Margaret Ann Brady | Kathleen Bowen
Simone Spencer | Lydia Pierce | Nell "Nellie Lee" Love | Bess Brennan | Minerva "Minnie" Swift | Grace Edwards
Julie Weiss | Madeline Beck | Amber Billows | Piper Davis | Dawn "Dawnie Rae" Johnson | Molly Flaherty

Supporting characters

Antoinetta Viscardi | Leon Nasevich | Daniel Pierce | Erma Jean Love | Patrick Flaherty

Lists of characters by book

A Journey to the New World | I Walk in Dread | Look to the Hills | Standing in the Light
Love Thy Neighbor | The Winter of Red Snow | Cannons at Dawn | A Line in the Sand
Valley of the Moon | Across the Wide and Lonesome Prairie | So Far from Home | All the Stars in the Sky
Seeds of Hope | A Picture of Freedom | A Light in the Storm | When Will This Cruel War Be Over?
The Girl Who Chased Away Sorrow | I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly | The Great Railroad Race
Down the Rabbit Hole | Land of the Buffalo Bones | My Heart Is on the Ground | Behind the Masks
My Face to the Wind | West to a Land of Plenty | A Coal Miner's Bride | Dreams in the Golden Country
A City Tossed and Broken | Hear My Sorrow | Voyage on the Great Titanic | A Time for Courage
When Christmas Comes Again | Like the Willow Tree | Color Me Dark | Mirror, Mirror on the Wall
Christmas After All | Survival in the Storm | One Eye Laughing, the Other Weeping
My Secret War | Early Sunday Morning | The Fences Between Us | With the Might of Angels
Where Have All the Flowers Gone?