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Lydia Maria Child

In 1882 a collection of the Letters of Lydia Maria Child was published, for which I wrote the following sketch, as an introduction:–

in presenting to the public this memorial volume, its compilers deemed that a brief biographical introduction was necessary; and as a labor of love I have not been able to refuse their request to prepare it.

Lydia Maria Francis was born in Medford, Massachusetts, February 11, 1802. Her father, Convers Francis, was a worthy and substantial citizen of that town. Her brother, Convers Francis, afterwards theological professor in Harvard College, was some years older than herself, and assisted her in her early home studies, though, with the perversity of an elder brother, he sometimes mystified her in answering her questions. Once, when she wished to know what was meant by Milton's ‘raven down of darkness,’ which was made to smile when smoothed, he explained that it was only the fur of a black cat, which sparkled when stroked! Later in life this brother wrote of her, ‘She has been a dear, good sister to me: would that I had been half as good a brother to her.’ Her earliest teacher was an aged spinster, known in the village as ‘Marm Betty,’ painfully shy, and with many oddities of person and manner,

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