descendant of Richard Francis who settled in Cambridge, Massachusetts
in 1636, Lydia was a humanitarian.
She was known as one of America's first women of letters, a reformer
and novelist who wrote and edited forty books. Her brother Convers
was a Unitarian minister who taught at Harvard Divinity School.
Her novel, Hobomok (1824), is the first historical novel
published in the United States. Her Appeal in Favor of That
Class of Americans Called Africans (1833), persuaded William
Ellery Channing and Charles Sumner to oppose slavery. In 1835
her two-volume History of the Condition of Women in Various
Ages and Nations voiced her early struggle in this field.
She was a founder of the Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association.
Theodore Parker is evident in her three-volume Progress of
Religious Ideas, Through Successive Ages (1855), which celebrates
A biography of Mrs. Child by John Greenleaf Whittier is included
in The Letters of Lydia Maria Child (1882). The poet recited
a memorial poem at her funeral. Wendell Phillips delivered the