Wednesday, July 20, 2016
Primary Resources by Lydia Sigourney
I am forever grateful to Lydia (Huntley) Sigourney.
She was a prolific writer and friend of the Cogswell family.
Without her books and poems, I would have been lost in my research.
She tells the women's perspective of the time, and has been extremely helpful in my attempt to imagine Alice Cogswell's life.
Lydia was Alice's teacher while Thomas Gallaudet was away in Europe learning how to instruct deaf students.
She was an amazing woman, whom is often mocked by the men of her time period.
Women in the 1800's did not have equal rights as men. So the men in her era probably felt threatened by this entrepreneur who was largely self-educated.
She established her own school for girls, teaching the little ladies of predominant families in Hartford. (She also taught poor black children on Sundays.) She wrote poetry and was a singer as well. When her husbands business dealings failed, she took up writing to supplement their family income. Which was probably tolerable, except that she published under her own name! (How scandal-less!)
This was very radical for that time period. Many felt she was over stepping her place or station in life. They felt a good wife, supports her husband by staying behind the scene. That she should have been more meek and submissive, and written under a pen name as many women of the time did.
Here are some of her writing that have been helpful. Not only for their content, her written opinions and views of life in the 1800's, but for the images. (The images in her books published in the 1800's are open to the public domain! So I plan to use some of these images in my up coming stories about Alice.)
Letters to Young Ladies by Lydia Sigourney
The Child's Book by Lydia Sigourney