a digital library of Unitarian Universalist biographies, history, books, and media
the digital library of Unitarian Universalism
Home » BIOGRAPHIES--NEW » Child, Lydia Maria Francis (1802-1880)

Child, Lydia Maria Francis (1802-1880)

Lydia Maria Francis Child

Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-USZ62-27708).

A 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 world religions.

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 oration.



Notable in UU History
Dana McLean Greeley

Greeley, Dana McLean (1908-1986)

Below are two perspectives on the life and leadership of Dana McLean Greeley, the first by ... Read More
Frederick Lucian Hosmer

Hosmer, Frederick Lucian (1840-1929)

Biographical Introduction One of the premier Unitarian hymn writers. Hosmer was born in Framingham, Massachusetts on ... Read More
Josephine Shaw Lowell

Lowell, Josephine Shaw (1843-1905)

Unsentimental Reformer: The Life of Josephine Shaw Lowell by Joan Waugh, published by Harvard University Press ... Read More

Kneeland, Abner (1774-1844)

Known primarily as the last person to be jailed for blasphemy in America, Kneeland was a ... Read More