Lydia Maria Child: Home Economy and Human Rights

Long before Fannie Farmer, Betty Crocker, or Martha Stewart, Lydia Maria Child provided American women with tips and tricks for running a smooth household.  Her most successful book, The Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy, was first published in 1829 and went through 33 editions.  Though Child is often remembered for her domestic guidance, her literary legacy includes a heaping helping of activism.

Jamaica in 1850

John Bigelow (1817-1911), born into a prominent New England family, was a newspaper writer and editor at the New-York Evening Post, under the leadership of William Cullen Bryant. An opponent of slavery in the years leading up to the Civil War, Bigelow travelled to Jamaica in 1850 to study the island’s economics following the abolition of slavery. His book soundly repudiated the assertion that freed slaves were incapable of self-governance and is still considered an authoritative analysis. It has been reprinted more than once in modern times, but this is the original publication. Our

The Hand-Book to Arizona

Richard J. Hinton (1830-1901), an Englishman, crossed the Atlantic in 1851 and took up residence in New York City. While there he learned the printer's trade and soon became a newspaper reporter. As a reporter he opposed the Fugitive Slave Law, became an anti-slavery advocate, and assisted in the organization of the Republican Party, which came into being in large part to oppose the expansion of slavery as embodied in the Kansas-Nebraska Act.

Miss Beecher's Domestic Receipt Book

Catharine Esther Beecher was born in 1800, the daughter of Lyman Beecher, an outspoken minister and co-founder of the American Temperance Society. Her younger sister was Harriet Beecher Stowe, well-known abolitionist and author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Disappointed in the limited curriculum available to young women during her own school years, Catharine became a teacher in 1821 and a strong advocate for women’s education. In 1823 she opened a private girls’ school, the Hartford Female Seminary, in Hartford, CT. Harriet graduated from the Seminary and later helped her sister there.