More from and about
Lydia Maria Child
(biographical info at bottom of page)

  

A human heart can never grow old if it takes a lively interest in
the pairing of birds, the reproduction of flowers,
and the changing tints of autumn leaves.

   

Misfortune is never mournful to the soul that accepts it; for such do always see that every cloud is an angelís face.  Every person deems that he or she has precisely the trials and temptations which are the hardest of all others to bear; but they are so, simply because they are the very ones he or she most needs.

      
I thank my Heavenly Father for every manifestation of human love, I thank Him for all experiences, be they sweet or bitter, which help me to forgive all things, and to enfold the whole world with a blessing.
  
O, it is the saddest of all things that even one human soul should dimly perceive the beauty that is ever around us, "a perpetual benediction!" Nature, that great missionary of the Most High, preaches to us, forever in all tones of love, and writes truth in all colors, on manuscripts illuminated with stars and flowers.
  
  
It is my mission to help in the breaking down of classes, and to make all people feel as if they were brethren of the same family, sharing the same rights, the same capabilities, and the same responsibilities. While my hand can hold a pen, I will use it to this end; and while my brain can earn a dollar, I will devote it to this end.
   

The cure for all the ills and wrongs, the cares, the sorrows, and the crimes of humanity, all lie in that one word "love." It is the divine vitality that everywhere produces and restores life. To each and every one of us, it gives the power of working miracles if we will.
  
  
Flowers have spoken to me more than I can tell in written words. They are the hieroglyphics of angels, loved by all men for the beauty of the character, though few can decypher even fragments of their meaning.

     

We do love beauty at first sight; and we do cease to love it,
if it is not accompanied by amiable qualities.

   

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Unwillingness to acknowledge whatever is good in religion foreign
to our own has always been a very common trait of human
nature; but it seems to me neither generous nor just.

   

"Whosoever quarrels with his fate, does not understated it,"
says Bettine; and among all her inspired sayings, she spoke none wiser.

   

You find yourself refreshed, by the presence of cheerful people. Why not
make earnest effort to confer that pleasure on others? You will find half
the battle is gained if you never allow yourself to say anything gloomy.

   
   

Law is not law, if it violates the principles of eternal justice.

    
Lydia Maria Child, Wayland's famous author and abolitionist, was born more than two hundred years ago, but it wasn't until much later that she was nominated by the Wayland Historical Society and inducted into The National Women's Hall of Fame, Seneca Falls, NY.  Child was inducted in ceremonies October 5,2002.

Child who is known for her work in the women's rights and antislavery movements and for her pioneering role in children's literature, was a Wayland resident for the last twenty-seven years of her life. Born Lydia Francis in Medford, Massachusetts in 1802, she adopted the middle name "Maria" and preferred it to "Lydia" all her life. She was educated in Medford public schools and spent a year in seminary, but it was her brother, the Rev. Convers Francis, a leading Transcendentalist, who was her most important educational influence.

Child's first book, Hobomok, a romantic novel that dealt with the then scandalous notion of an Indian warrior in love with a white woman, catapulted her to fame when she was just 22. Because the novel used Colonial-era historical material as background, it has been called New England's first historical novel. With the publication of Hobomok and the appearance a year later of The Rebels, Child became a literary sensation. She was invited by the governor to the reception for Lafayette and entertained by Boston's elite in the grand houses of Beacon Hill.

When Child began writing, there was virtually nothing published especially for children. In 1826 she started the first children's magazine, Juvenile Miscellany, a tiny paper periodical she edited, writing many of the didactic little stories herself. The publication enjoyed wide support for nearly ten years.

Child's successful literary career came to an abrupt end in 1833 when she published An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans, often cited as the first antislavery book. In it she reviewed the history of slavery. She insisted that slavery had an evil impact on both slave and slaveholder, and she outraged her Boston friends by describing Northerners' prejudice against blacks and the segregation that existed in Northern cities. As a result, subscriptions to Juvenile Miscellany were cancelled and Child was forced to resign as editor. Her readers stopped buying her books. The Boston Athenaeum trustees revoked her library privileges. Nevertheless, long before Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was published, Child's book won many converts to the antislavery cause.

She married David L. Child, a young lawyer and editor for the Massachusetts Whig Journal. David was an idealistic young man, whose editorial opinions got him sued on more than one occasion and even jailed, and whose business schemes always seemed to turn out badly. A firm abolitionist and true believer in women's rights, he was proud of his wife's achievements and never limited her freedom to write or work, as many husbands of the period might have. But his reckless business ventures kept the couple continually in poverty and debt. Throughout most of their 46-year marriage, Maria was the major family breadwinner.

In 1841 David and Maria were appointed co-editors of the Massachusetts Whig Journal, the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Both were reluctant to take on the responsibility. Because David was involved in another ill-fated venture, a sugar beet farm in Northhampton, Maria shouldered the job alone, although both names ran on the masthead. Besides editing the paper, Maria was charged with building up the newspaper's readership, serving on the formerly all-male executive committee, and balancing the conflicting demands of different antislavery factions. During her years living alone in New York, Child wrote the two-volume, Letters from New York, and also the story of the Quaker Abolitionist, Isaac T. Hopper.

  

  

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