Lydia Maria Child (1802–1880)

Edited by Louis P. Masur

in “… The Real War Will Never Get in the Books”

Published in print September 1995 | ISBN: 9780195098372
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199853908 | DOI:
Lydia Maria Child (1802–1880)

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  • History of the Americas


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Lydia Maria Child, for four decades had published novels, advice books, anthologies, letters, children's stories, and reform tracts. With works such as Hobomok, The Frugal Housewife and Letters from New York, she became a widely known and best-selling author. However, from early on her romantic and literary sensibilities clashed with her moral and political concerns. She refused to look away from those less fortunate than herself. Like so many New England intellectuals of the period, she came to identify with the ordeal of blacks in America and committed herself to the struggle against slavery. Obsessed with the fate of the slave during the Civil War, Child could not write novels because as long as others were not free to create their own lives, she did not feel free to create fictional ones. Her sense of enslavement did not, however, silence her. Even more than usual, correspondence became an outlet for her creative energies.

Keywords: Lydia Maria Child; blacks; slavery; Civil War; enslavement; Letters from New York; America

Chapter.  8530 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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