Lydia Maria Child

Lydia Maria Child
1802-1880
Anti-Slavery Advocate

Her father, David Francis, was a baker in Medford, Mass. Miss Francis showed a market craving for books when quite young.

Her first novel Hobomok, was occasioned by an article in the North American Review in which the writer enthusiastically set forth the adaptation of early New England history to the purposes of fiction. She had never written for the press, but the though seized her and she wrote the first chapter of her novel the same day. In six weeks, the story was finished and upon being published was so well received that she wrote next year The Rebels; or, Boston Before the Revolution.

She next opened a private school in Watertown Mass., and about the same time started Juvenile Miscellany, a children’s magazine.

When twenty-six years of age she married David Lee Child, a Boston lawyer. She wrote The Mother’s Book, The girl’s Own Book, The History of Women, and Biographies of Good Wives.

She was now happily married, enjoyed a generous income, and was surrounded by friends of high social standing. But a change came because of herself and husband becoming identified with the anti-slavery movement. The sale of her books fell off, subscriptions to her magazine were withdrawn, and the homes of many former friends were no longer open to her.

But she had taken her position as a matter of conscience and no loss of friends, fame, or fortune could cause her to turn back. She wrote and published An Appeal on Behalf of that Class of Americans Called Africans. From a quiet and remunerative literary life she was thrust into the midst of a fierce fight.

In 1844 Mr. and Mrs. Child removed to New York and became joint editors of The Anti-Slavery Standard. Mr. Child’s health was poor and much of the time his wife worked on bravely and almost alone. One of her biographers has said, “No man or woman of that period rendered more substantial service to the cause of freedom or made such a great renunciation to do it.”

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Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence, and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World published by the King-Richardson Co. in 1903.