The youngest of seven children born to an abolitionist family, Lydia Maria Child spent her life advocating for the rights of enslaved people and women.
Given the title “The First Lady of the Republic” by admirers including abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison, Child’s writings dispelled ideas that Black Americans were a lower class. Her book An Appeal in Favor of that Class of Americans Called Africans, advocated education for Black Americans and has often been cited as the first anti-slavery publication. She joined the American Anti-Slavery Society and she and her husband edited the National Anti-Slavery Standard from 1841-1844.
Child was also a founding member of the Massachusetts Women’s Suffrage Association and authored The History of the Conditions of Women in Various Ages and Nations, a publication that went on to influence the next generation of suffragists.
In addition to her activist work, Child also founded the country’s first children’s magazine, Juvenile Miscellany, and wrote many volumes dedicated to domestic endeavors.