Child, Lydia Maria

Child, Lydia Maria,

1802–80, American author and abolitionist, b. Lydia Maria Francis, Medford, Mass. She edited (1826–34) the Juvenile Miscellany, a children's periodical. She and her husband (David Lee Child, whom she married in 1828) were devoted to the antislavery cause; she wrote widely read pamphlets on the subject in addition to editing (1841–49) the National Anti-Slavery Standard, a New York City weekly newspaper. Selections from her Standard essays were published in 1999 as Letters from New-York. Other writings include several historical novels and a book on the history of religions. Her Frugal Housewife (1829) went through many editions.


See her letters (with introduction by J. G. Whittier, 1883, repr. 1970); biographies by H. G. Baer (1964), M. Meltzer (1965), W. S. Osborne (1980), D. P. Clifford (1992), and C. Karcher (1994).

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Child, Lydia Maria (b. Francis)

(1802–80) abolitionist, writer; born in Medford, Mass. After teaching for a time she began writing fiction (1824) and started a children's educational periodical, the Juvenile Miscellany; then came her popular domestic advice books, notably The Frugal Housewife (1829), and biographical essays about women. Following her marriage to attorney David Lee Child (1828), she wrote a classic antislavery tract (1833) that offended many and depressed sales of her other books; she also joined in abolitionist activities and was editor of the National Anti-Slavery Standard (1840–44). After a hiatus devoted to other writing, including widely read newspaper columns on arts and society, she returned to her antislavery polemics shortly before the Civil War; she also turned to such causes as women's rights and civil service reform.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.