Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lydia Maria Child: Conscience for Her Generation

The following is an excerpt from a work-in-progress called A Brief History of American Literature.

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was a relentless voice of conscience for readers in 19th century America.  In 1825, she wrote the novel Hobomok, which dealt sympathetically with interracial marriage between a Native American man and a white woman.   In 1833, she was an early voice of the Abolitionist movement, and published the book An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans.  She edited the abolitionist publication National Anti-Slavery Standard.  

She was also concerned with the poor and homeless, and her Letters From New York dealt with issues of urban poverty.  She was an early advocate for women's rights, and published an early feminist text, History of the Condition of Women (1835).  She also wrote her own copiously-researched history of religion, entitled The Progress of Religions Ideas.  Child, like many progressive writers of the 19th century, was Unitarian.  

Lydia Maria Child in 1870

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