Rare Book & Manuscript Library
 

Lydia Maria Child papers, 1829-1879

Summary Information

Abstract

This collection contains letters and manuscripts written by Lydia Maria Child. The letters describe events in Child's personal life, writing career, and with her deep involvement in the anti-slavery movement. This collection also contains two poems, and two photographs.

At a Glance

Call No.: MS#0217
Bib ID 4078598 View CLIO record
Creator(s) Child, Lydia Maria, 1802-1880
Title Lydia Maria Child papers, 1829-1879
Physical Description 0.21 linear feet (1/2 box)
Language(s) English .
Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Arrangement

Arrangement

This collection is arranged into two series.

Description

Summary

The Lydia Maria Child Papers consist primarily of letters written by Child to friends and professional acquaintances. The letters address her involvement in the abolitionist movement, her writing career, her religion, and personal relationships. In addition to the various correspondences, two poems are included in this collection, as well as manuscript writings by Child. This collection contains two photographs of Child.

Together with other letters by Child from the Park Benjamin, Sydney Howard Gay, Jay Family, and John H. Payne collections, the letters in folders 1 and 2 may also be accessed on microfilm under call number "MS Coll Child.".

Using the Collection

Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Restrictions on Access

This collection is located off-site. You will need to request this material at least three business days in advance to use the collection in the Rare Book and Manuscript Library reading room.

This collection has no restrictions.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. Permission to publish material from the collection must be requested from the Curator of Manuscripts/University Archivist, Rare Book and Manuscript Library (RBML). The responsibility to secure copyright permission rests with the patron.

Preferred Citation

Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Lydia Maria Child papers; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.

Selected Related Material-- Other Repositories

Lydia Maria Francis Child Letters, Harvard University.

Lydia Maria Child Papers, University of Michigan.

Lydia Maria Child Letters, Pennsylvania State University.

Lydia Maria Child Collection, Princeton University.

Lydia Maria Francis Child Papers, New York Public Library.

Park Benjamin Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Sydney Howard Gay Papers, Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Alternate Form Available

All letters in folders 1 and 2 are also available on microfilm. The microfilm is stored onsite in RBML under call number "MS Coll Child.".

About the Finding Aid / Processing Information

Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library

Processing Information

Papers processed by Robyn Hjermstad.

Finding aid written by Robyn Hjermstad June 2010.

Collection is processed to folder level.

Revision Description

2010-09-02 File created.

2010-09-03 XML document instance created by Catherine N. Carson

2019-05-20 EAD was imported spring 2019 as part of the ArchivesSpace Phase II migration.

Subject Headings

The subject headings listed below are found in this collection. Links below allow searches at Columbia University through the Archival Collections Portal and through CLIO, the catalog for Columbia University Libraries, as well as ArchiveGRID, a catalog that allows users to search the holdings of multiple research libraries and archives.

All links open new windows.

Genre/Form

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Photographic prints Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

Subject

Heading "CUL Archives:"
"Portal"
"CUL Collections:"
"CLIO"
"Nat'l / Int'l Archives:"
"ArchivedGRID"
Abolitionists -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Antislavery movements -- United States Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Child, Lydia Maria, 1802-1880 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Child, Lydia Maria, 1802-1880 Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID
Poetry Portal CLIO ArchiveGRID

History / Biographical Note

Biographical Note

Lydia Maria Child was born Lydia Maria Francis in Medford, Massachusetts in February, 1802. Francis was born into an abolitionist family and was greatly influenced by her brother, Convers, who would later become a Unitarian Clergyman. After the death of her mother in 1814, Child moved to Maine to live with her sister and began teaching in Gardiner in 1819. While living in Maine, Child became increasingly interested in Native Americans and visited many nearby settlements. Child began actively writing shortly after returning to Massachusetts to live with her brother. She published her first novel, Hobomok, in 1824, at the age of 22. The story depicted the relationship between a girl from New England and a Native American. Although the book was published anonymously, Child would later gain fame as the author of Hobomok, the first American historical novel.

Child continued to have a vibrant writing career throughout her life; she was the pioneer of many writing forms, such as historical fiction, children's literature, and women's literature. In 1826, she founded Juvenile Miscellany, the first children's periodical in the United States; she published The American Frugal Housewife in 1844. Child published her first anti-slavery book in 1833, An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans We Call Africans, arguing for full, uncompensated emancipation of slavery and full racial equality.

Following her marriage to journalist and fellow abolitionist, David Lee Child, in 1828, Child and her husband became acquainted with William Lloyd Garrison, who greatly influenced their devotion to abolitionism. With her husband, Child established the National Anti-Slavery Standard, the official weekly newspaper of the American Anti-Slavery Society, in 1840. Among her many abolitionist efforts, Child transcribed recollections of freed slaves and edited Harriet Jacobs's Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl (1861). Public reactions to her actions were frequently negative, but Child continued with her endeavors against slavery and also supported both women's rights and Native American rights throughout her life. Child died in 1880, at age 78, in her home in Wayland, Massachusetts.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only CU affiliates may view materials on-site. YOU MUST REQUEST AN APPOINTMENT BEFORE PLACING REQUESTS. Email rbml@library.columbia.edu to request an appointment. You may submit a request for materials once your appointment is confirmed. Affiliates will login with their uni and password, and need to register the first time they make a request.


Series I: Printed Material, 1840-1879

This series contains the correspondence, writings, and poems of Lydia Maria Child.


Subseries I.1: Correspondence, 1840-1879

This series is comprised of both personal and professional letters written by Child to her peers. Most of the personal correspondences located in folder 1 are about planning or recalling recent visits to friends, though there are letters regarding Child's spirituality, the death of her husband, David Lee Child, as well as a letter about her brother and his influence on her writing. The professional letters in folder 2 include many passionate letters written by Child regarding the anti-slavery movement in the United States. Letters to George Curtis, William Lloyd Garrison, and Robert F. Walcott are also located in folder 2. The letters frequently mention the sociopolitical issues surrounding slavery, and the activities of Child and her contemporaries in response to those issues. One letter, from Josiah Quincy, addresses Child's request for the erection of a statue of lawyer and abolitionist Charles Sumner. Additionally, a letter written by Child requesting copies of the "emancipation tract" is located in folder 2. In addition to letters regarding the anti-slavery movement are notes to the editors of theAtlantic Monthlyand the Boston Travellerconcerning Child's writings that were submitted for publication.

Together with other letters by Child from the Park Benjamin, Sydney Howard Gay, Jay Family, and John H. Payne collections, the letters in folders 1 and 2 may also be accessed on microfilm under call number "MS Coll Child."



Box 1 Folder 1 Letters--Personal, 1840s, 1852, 1857, 1860 1863-1864,1867-1868 1873-1874, 1877-1879 [or 1840s-1879] ?, 1840s, 1852, 1857, 1860, 1873-1874, 1877-1879


Box 1 Folder 2 Letters--Professional, 1856-1874


Subseries I.2: Writings, circa 1829, 1862-1863, 1879, undated, 1829, 1862-1863, 1879, undated

Subseries II contains writings and poems written by Child. There are two poems in folder 4; titles include "The Dandy Poet's Appeal" (circa 1829), and "A Yankee Soldier's Song" (1863). Folder 3 contains some of Child's writings, including a manuscript about slavery and abolition in Saint Louis, Missouri in 1862. Folder 3 also contains a handwritten program for the Annual Subscription Anniversary for the American Anti-Slavery Society. There are two quotations, or maxims, as well as a journal entry about Adolf Arnstein, a German mystic from the 14th century.


Box 1 Folder 3 Manuscripts, 1862, 1879, undated, 1862, 1879, undated


Box 1 Folder 4 Poems, circa 1829, 1863, 1829, 1863

Series II: Photographs, 1865-1867

There are two photographs in folder 5 of Lydia Maria Child, both portraits, one of her at age 63 and one at age 65.


Box 1 Folder 5 Photographs, 1865-1867