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Life Of Lydia Maria Child Essay

815 words - 4 pages

Lydia Maria Child was one of the most influential women from the 1800s. She was a writer, abolitionist, and women’s’ rights activist, and in 2001 was honored by the National Women’s Hall Of Fame. She was born Lydia Francis on February 11, 1802, in Medford, Massachusetts, to parents Susannah Rand Francis and Convers Francis, and was the youngest of their seven children. However, her time with her parents was cut short when, in 1814, her mother died. Lydia’s father chose to send her to live with her sister, Mary Francis Preston, in Norridgewock, Maine. Near the town was a Penobscot settlement, which started her interest in Indians. Lydia stayed with her sister until 1820, and her time was ...view middle of the document...

She legally separated her finances from her husband in 1844, and published Letters from New York, which helped her to gain back some of her previous popularity. Then, almost a decade later, she and her husband reconciled and moved to Wayland, Massachusetts. There they sheltered runaway slaves in the home of Lydia’s father, which she would later inherit.
Lydia was back in the public eye in 1859, after John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry. Although she did not like the violence he had used, she did admire his courage in fighting the evil of slavery. Lydia had offered to help John Brown when she learned he was injured, which caused the proslavery forces to deem her a “troublemaker,” and Mrs. James Mason, whose husband had written the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850, wrote a letter chastising her for offering to help a murderer. Mrs. Mason attempted to get sympathy by explaining how southern women helped slave women in childbirth, but Lydia countered by saying that northern women also helped with childbirth, but “after we have helped the mothers, we do not sell the babies” (Letters of Lydia Maria Child, page 135). In 1861, Lydia edited Incidents In the Life of a Slave Girl by Harriet Jacobs, and in 1865 she edited The Freedman’s Book, which included poems, sketches, and essays.
Once the war had ended, Lydia began focusing more on the suffrage cause. Although...

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