Autograph Letter, Signed, to Her Sister Mary Preston. 3pp, June 11, 1826. WOMEN, Lydia Maria CHILD, Francis.

Autograph Letter, Signed, to Her Sister Mary Preston. 3pp, June 11, 1826

[Boston: 1826]. The earliest Child letter recorded in commerce in at least twenty-five years. In a revealingly intimate and detailed letter, Child writes from Chestnut Street [in Boston], just as she is preparing to return to Watertown where she lives with her brother Convers Francis and his wife Abby. She wishes her sister would write more often, though she acknowledges "you are the mother of a numerous offspring, lovely like yourself, and I a poor, isolated spinster." She says she is hoping to send a portrait of herself which she had had done, which she hopes Mary will like: "If it has any fault, it is because the artist has too much genius. He wanted to make a Sappho of me, and to pour over my very ugly face the full tide of inspiration." She mentions that she is to take a large school in Watertown which she does not particularly like, but feels the need to replenish her finances which "this winter's campaign" has much depleted. She also expresses some concern that she must live with her brother and his wife, saying "[r]elations never ought to live together, unless they keep debt and credit like strangers...." Lydia speaks of studying French and drawing so as to better suit herself for a position at a first rate school because she is convinced she will never marry – a prospect she seems to accept as natural, given her personality: "Just in proportion to my conspicuousness, I have had enemies and friends, and I have deserved them both. Oh, how often I have wanted you to fly to, for advice and assistance. If people knew half the extent of my vehement and impetuous temperament, they would give me credit for governing myself as well as I do. 'What's done, we shortly may compute, but know not what's resisted....'".

Lydia Maria Child (1802-1880) was an author and abolitionist, daughter of David Convers Francis and his wife Susannah. After the death of her mother in 1814, Maria lived with her sister and husband in Maine. She read widely and became a teacher at a local school in Gardiner, Maine before moving to Watertown, Massachusetts in 1820 to live with her brother. Harvard educated and a Unitarian minister, Convers Francis introduced Maria to many of leading writers and intellectuals of the day. She published her first novel "Hobomok" in 1824, under a pseudonym, but it gained her permission to use the Boston Atheneum for further research. In 1825, she published another book, "The Rebels, or Boston before the Revolution," which was well received. Maria taught school in Watertown for three years, from 1825-1828, founding a literary magazine there, the "Juvenile Miscellany," in 1826. It is considered the first American periodical for children, according to her brief biography in "Notable American Women," [Harvard Univ. Press: 1974]. 
Later in the summer of 1826, Maria met David Lee Child, a Harvard graduate, lawyer and state legislator. They married in 1828 and spent the rest of their lives advocating for anti-slavery causes, women's rights, and Native American rights. Maria's work "An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans," published in 1833, influenced many others to join in the abolitionist cause. She and her husband also edited a weekly newspaper, "National Anti-Slavery Standard," in New York City from 1841-1844. . Autograph letter, signed "Maria," 3pp. letter, approx. 1100 words, written to her sister, folded, addressed on fourth page to Hon. Warren Preston, Norridgewock [Maine], "Care of Doctor A. Mann, Hallowell, Maine. Politeness of Mr. Waters." Old fold lines with splits and separations along some folds, slightly affecting a word or two. Small hole to blank area of the paper where seal was broken, but text all legible and in a clear hand. .

Price: $4,500.00

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