LMCS in Medford

During the recent American Literature Association conference, members of the Lydia Maria Child Society toured Child’s birthplace, Medford.

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Lydia Francis headstone, photo by Tracey Daniels-Lerberg

We visited a number of important cites, including  the historic graveyard where her grandparents were buried.

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LMCS Members touring Medford, photo by Tracey Daniels-Lerberg

Thanks to Boston University’s Kyna Hamill, who is also a volunteer with the Medford Historical Society, for a wonderful guided tour of the city and the society’s LMC holdings (more on this later.)

LMCS Activities in Boston

Lydia Maria Child Society Activities during ALA 2017

We welcome you to the ALA in Boston and hope that you’ll be able to take part in one or more of our activities!

Friday, May 26:  Walking tour of Medford, MA, and Medford Historical Society and Museum

Dr. Kyna Hamill, of the School of Theatre at Boston University, will be leading us on a 45-minute walking tour of Medford, beginning at Medford Square, that will focus on significant Lydia Maria Child sites.  This walk will end at the Medford Historical Society and Museum (MHSM), where we will see artifacts such as an 1826 portrait of Child and Child’s “Floral Souvenir” scrapbook.  Lunch in Medford will round off the tour.  http://www.medfordhistorical.org/

Gather in Medford at 10am at Medford Square in front of the doughnut shop at 35 Riverside Avenue, where the 95 bus from Sullivan will drop off the Westin group.  Kyna will meet us here.

Travel from the Westin:  Those who would like to go in a group from the Westin to Medford using public transportation (subway and bus) can meet in the hotel.  The round-trip cost will be approximately $10.  We will meet in Westin’s lobby by 9am and leave immediately.

The tour will be “easy walking,” which comfortable footwear may enhance.  You may wish to bring rain gear and/or sunscreen.  Unfortunately, the MHSM is not wheelchair accessible.  We are happy to arrange for the Child artifacts to be brought to Medford’s Public Library, which is two blocks from the MHSM, if such accommodations are requested.

Sadly, the LMCS cannot provide financial assistance.

Please e-mail Sandy Burr at sburr@nmu.edu by Midnight on Monday, May 20, to sign up for the trip.  We’ll use the total number to plan on a head count and to make lunch reservations in Medford.  Please include your need for wheelchair accessibility and your plan to either meet us in the Westin lobby or at Medford Square, 35 Riverside Avenue.

Saturday, May 27:  Panels and Business Meeting

8:10am to 9:30am

Session 14-D   Social Justice Pedagogy Roundtable

Organized by the Lydia Maria Child Society

Moderator: Sandra Burr, Northern Michigan University

  1. Jacqueline Emery and Carol Quirke, SUNY College at Old Westbury
  2. Marlowe Daly-Galeano, Lewis-Clark State College
  3. Philip Kadish, Hunter College, City University of New York
  4. Tracey-Lynn Daniels-Lerberg, University of Texas at Arlington
  5. Lucy Sirianni, University of California at Berkeley
  6. Sarah Olivier, University of Denver

9:40am to 11am

Session 15-D   Limning the Possibilities of Lydia Maria Child

Organized by the Lydia Maria Child Society

Chair: Sarah Olivier, University of Denver

  1. “‘Invisible Danger’: Lydia Maria Child and Writing Race in Mammoth Cave,” Emma Newcombe, Boston University
  2. “‘Nothing But a Tiger’: Portraits of Lydia Maria Child,” Kyna Hamill, Boston University
  3. “Dialogic Spiritualism in Child and Poe: Philothea and the Cosmology of ‘Eureka,'” Adam C. Bradford, Florida Atlantic University

2:10pm to 3:30pm

Session 18-M   Business Meeting: Lydia Maria Child Society

Join us in Boston

Lydia Maria Child Society at ALA 2017

The Westin Copley Place, Boston

May 25 – 28

Dear Members and Friends,

The ALA has posted the 2017 draft program on its conference website, so we thought you’d like to see the particulars about the three LMCS events currently in that program.  Please note that these events all take place on Saturday, May 27.

We’re working on an excursion to Medford to visit some Lydia Maria Child sites on Friday, May 26.  Once we’ve worked out the details, we’ll update you via this list-serv.  We’re on a roll!

Saturday, May 27

8:10am to 9:30am

Session 14-D   Social Justice Pedagogy Roundtable

Organized by the Lydia Maria Child Society

Moderator: Sandra Burr, Northern Michigan University

  1. Jacqueline Emery and Carol Quirke, SUNY College at Old Westbury
  2. Marlowe Daly-Galeano, Lewis-Clark State College
  3. Philip Kadish, Hunter College, City University of New York
  4. Tracey-Lynn Daniels-Lerberg, University of Texas at Arlington
  5. Lucy Sirianni, University of California at Berkeley
  6. Sarah Olivier, University of Denver

9:40am to 11am

Session 15-D   Limning the Possibilities of Lydia Maria Child

Organized by the Lydia Maria Child Society

Chair: Sarah Olivier, University of Denver

  1. “‘Invisible Danger’: Lydia Maria Child and Writing Race in Mammoth Cave,” Emma Newcombe, Boston University
  2. “Cookbook Morality: Child vs. Corporate Cookbooks,” Linda Civitello, Independent Scholar
  3. “‘Nothing But a Tiger’: Portraits of Lydia Maria Child,” Kyna Hamill, Boston University
  4. “Dialogic Spiritualism in Child and Poe: Philothea and the Cosmology of ‘Eureka,’” Adam C. Bradford, Florida Atlantic University

2:10pm to 3:30pm

Session 18-M   Business Meeting: Lydia Maria Child Society

Lydia Maria Child Society at ALA

Call for Papers:

Lydia Maria Child Society at ALA 2017, Boston, MA, 25 – 28 May 2017

The Lydia Maria Child Society welcomes proposals for a roundtable and for an open-topic panel to be held at the annual American Literature Association Conference in Boston, MA, between 25 and 28 May 2017 at The Westin Copley Place (URL: americanliteratureassociation.org/ala-conferences/ala-annual-conference/).

The Lydia Maria Child Society seeks participants for a roundtable on pedagogy, social justice, and nineteenth-century American literature.  Considering contemporary social justice concerns ranging from the Black Lives Matter movement to the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy to the persistent gender inequities made all too apparent in the 2016 presidential election, the Child Society feels strongly that many of the issues for which Child fought so passionately remain deeply relevant today.  To honor her lifelong commitment to both education and writing as ways to attain social change, we will ask that our selected panelists prepare brief presentations on how they address the above issues and/or others within the literature classroom, before engaging in what we hope will be a fruitful and wide-ranging open discussion on social justice pedagogies and nineteenth-century American literature.  What nineteenth-century texts and social issues have proved particularly pertinent to your students’ lived experiences of activism, marginalization, etc.? How do you productively draw parallels between the concerns of the nineteenth century and those we are facing today? What specific lesson plans, textual pairings/groupings, and/or other pedagogical approaches might you recommend to colleagues striving to make their syllabi and classrooms more socially conscious and engaged?

Please send 200-word abstracts of your proposed presentation, as Word documents, to lydiamariachildsociety@gmail.com by January 10, 2017.  Note that while we of course welcome proposals that engage with Child’s work, Child need not be included for your proposal to be considered.

The Lydia Maria Child Society values sharing ideas about Lydia Maria Child and her work, particularly the work that has spoken the most to you as a reader, a writer, a student, an instructor, a parent, and/or an individual.  We therefore welcome proposals for our open-topic panel that engage with any aspect of Child’s work.  What aspects of Child’s life and writing have motivated you to self-reflect?  To explore specific genres of reading and/or writing?  To change the way(s) you perceive social responsibility?  To engage actively in social reform at home, at work, in the classroom, or in the community?  To create and/or overhaul a course?  To share in other personal and/or professional contexts the specific elements or traits that make you passionate about Child’s work?  Please share your ideas with us!

Please send 250-word abstracts and a brief CV, as Word documents, to lydiamariachildsociety@gmail.com by January 10, 2017.

Two Roads in Medford

Lydia Maria Child is still making news!

This fall, the Medford Historical Society & Museum will be featuring an original play entitled “Letters to Medford: A Play About the Future According to the Past” from Sept. 29-October 8, 2016 featuring Lydia Maria Child as a character.  This original play is produced by Two Roads Performance Projects.

Letters to Medford is inspired by a “Letter to Future Medford 2055” that historian, Charles Brooks, wrote in his History of Medford in 1855. In his letter, he described his vision for Medford over the course of 200 years. History and the present collide in this production when Charles Brooks, Lydia Maria Child, and Lucy Osgood confront the archivist who wants to protect their history and meet Medford teens who remain anxious about what the future will mean for them.

The Medford Historical Society & Museum holds many of Child’s artifacts (pocket watch, bible, doll bed, quilts) as well as an original unpublished manuscript we call the “Flower Book” that includes original poetry, drawings and scrapbook pieces. It was a gift to Mary (Mrs George Luther) Stearns in 1855 from “Aunt Maria.” Mrs. Stearns donated it to MHS in 1900.

Another unique object housed at MHSM is the earliest portrait of Child painted by Francis Alexander. Unfortunately, the painting was destroyed when someone attempted to restore it in the 1950s. The story of this painting is featured in the play.

Tickets for the show are now on sale at www.tworoads.org

$15 for adults and $12 for seniors and students.

Location: Medford Historical Society & Museum, 10 Governors Avenue

Social Justice Award Winners

The Lydia Maria Child Society’s Executive Board is pleased to announce and
introduce the winners of our society’s first ever Social Justice Award. The awards are designed to recognize students, scholars, and professionals whose work reflects Child’s fierce commitment to equity and social progress. In fact, the nominations were so numerous, varied, and excellent that we  chose to offer not two awards as originally planned but three, recognizing both this year and in years to come a high school or undergraduate student, a graduate student, and a scholar or other professional. We are thrilled that our call for nominations garnered so many outstanding responses, which serves as a testament to the ways in which Child’s tireless activism continues echo forward in intellectual and academic realms. We are eager to honor the work of our winners and to introduce our members to their exciting accomplishments and projects.

In the high school/undergraduate category, our winner is Tara Fritz of St.
Francis University. Tara is a rising senior majoring in English, with minors in French, Women’s Studies, and Social Responsibility. In spite of her clearly full academic schedule, Tara routinely finds time to promote social equity throughout her campus and community. She has organized campus-wide events to raise money for groups ranging from Haitian nuns and the community they serve to local women’s help centers and has worked to give fellow students opportunities to engage in critical discussions of gender equity through organizing film screenings and guest lectures. To learn more about Tara and her accomplishments, see her university’s press release on her receipt of this award at
https://www.francis.edu/News/2016/06/Senior-wins-national-Social-Justice-Award/.

Our graduate student winner is Corey Hickner-Johnson, a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Iowa. Corey’s dissertation focuses on mental disability as experienced by women writers and characters and hopes “to show the affective and felt dimensions of mental disability and to argue that we should take mental disability on its own terms, instead of pathologizing or dismissing those who deal with mental disability.” She has written on the recovery of oral traditions in African American, Native American, and Hmong American women’s writing and in addition to her academic work has written op-eds on such topics as women’s rights, teachers’ rights, and Native American rights.

Finally, the winner of our award for professors and independent scholars is
Dr. Brigitte Fielder, a professor in the Comparative Literature department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. To quote one of her three enthusiastic nominators, “Like Child, [Brigitte] has written about the ethical and social ties that bind how we think together about the radical politics of feminism, anti-racism, and species distinction both in the nineteenth-century and today.” She has written, for instance, about the dynamics of cross-racial and cross-species sympathy from abolitionist children’s literature to reporting on Hurricane Katrina. At the university, she has taught courses with titles like “Long Before Beyonce: Early African American Feminisms,” and she has also taught literature courses to (and worked on behalf of) incarcerated students.

Getting a glimpse into Tara, Corey, and Brigitte’s work, as well as the
impressive work of the other nominees, all of whom deserve recognition, has
served as a powerful reminder of our capacity as literary scholars to
follow Child in working toward social change. We hope it will do the same
for our members, and we look forward to making our society’s social justice
awards an annual tradition.

Membership Renewals

Annual memberships to the Lydia Maria Child Society are due for renewal by July 1st. The easiest way to renew is via our website at https://lydiamariachildsociety.wordpress.com/join-us/. Fill out the form and select the appropriate payment option.

If you prefer to fill out a paper form and send a check by mail, please copy the Membershp Form below and past into a Word Document to print and remit with payment.

Members of the LMCS have access to our listserv, receive our society newsletter, and are invited to vote, hold office and contribute to our events and programs.

We thank you for your support of the LMCS over the past year as we have built a strong foundation through the creation of our constitution and by-laws, the establishment of our executive and advisory boards, the launching of our website, our innovative conference programming, and the start of our Lydia Maria Child Social Justice Awards. We look forward to the second year of the LMCS with plans to develop a society newsletter in addition to pedagogical resources and a stimulating blog via our website. We also look to implement new social justice initiatives through community engagement.

LYDIA MARIA CHILD SOCIETY

MEMBERSHIP FORM

(Please print this form and mail it to the address below with payment.)

NAME: ______________________________     

DATE: _____________________________

EMAIL: _____________________________________________

 WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE ADDED TO OUR LISTSERV?  YES  /   NO

 ADDRESS: __________________________________________

 _____________________________________________________

 _____________________________________________________

 _____________________________________________________

 INSTITUTIONAL AFFILIATION (if applicable):

 ______________________________________________

 MEMBERSHIP FEES

Submission of this form (with payment) guarantees membership, which is active for one year (unless lifetime) and renewable each July.

REGULAR (Academic or Community Member) ($10) _______

STUDENT/INDEPENDENT SCHOLAR ($5)_______

INSTITUTIONAL ($25)_______

LIFETIME ($200)_______

Please remit payment to the Lydia Maria Child Society at

Sarah Olivier, 3304 Perry Street, Denver, CO 80212.

 

Over the River…

Please visit Constance Jackson’s inspiring film on Lydia Maria Child @ http://overtherivermovie.com.

Over the River . . . Life of Lydia Maria Child, Abolitionist for Freedom sweeps the viewer back into the social upheaval of 19th-century America and the tumultuous life of Lydia Maria Child, a popular writer of novels, children’s literature, and domestic advice whose books were burned when she entered the battle to abolish slavery with the publication of An Appeal in Favor of That Class of Americans Called Africans. Despite increasing hardships in her personal life, Child became one of the country’s most eminent anti-slavery, Indian rights, and women’s rights authors. Later, as editor of Harriet Jacobs’s autobiography, Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, Child courageously faced down public outrage for including the passages on sexual brutality.

Historians today have largely ignored her contribution in shaping early America. She is remembered primarily for her popular Thanksgiving Day poem turned song, Over the River and through the Woods to Grandmother’s House We Go. With archival photographs and illustrations, rarely seen documentary footage, in-depth interviews, and dramatic reenactments, Over the River… rescues this important figure from obscurity, bringing her vividly to life. Along the way, the film explores Child’s involvement in the events and issues that pushed Americans into the bloodiest conflict ever fought on U.S. soil, ones that continue to shape the nation in the 21st century.

Social Justice Awards

In keeping with our society’s goal of honoring and continuing Lydia Maria Child’s vision of and work toward social justice, the Lydia Maria Child Society is pleased to offer two awards recognizing work on American literature that furthers social change: one for literature scholars at the graduate level and beyond and one for high school and undergraduate students.  Child routinely wrote on behalf of the marginalized, emerging as a passionate advocate for slaves, Native Americans, prisoners, prostitutes, and even animals, among a host of others.  Our society aims to recognize academic writing that, like Child’s, speaks to pressing social causes, as well as pedagogical endeavors and other projects that foreground the voices of (oftentimes neglected) authors who have worked to produce such writing.  To apply for either award or to nominate a colleague, friend, or student, please send to lydiamariachildsociety@gmail.com by May 1, with “Social justice award” as the subject line of your email, a letter detailing the ways in which your own or your nominee’s literary scholarship engages with current social justice concerns.  You are also welcome, though not required, to include a writing sample that demonstrates this engagement.  These samples may take the form of essays (or essay excerpts), course syllabi, or descriptions of projects that explore the intersections between American literature and social justice outside the academic classroom.

Applications should be sent as Word documents and should not exceed 15 pages.  While we will be happy to receive submissions that consider Child directly, Child need not be included in order for projects to be eligible; we welcome projects on a variety of authors, genres, periods, and concerns.  Winners will be recognized at the upcoming ALA conference and will receive a monetary award of $100, though they need not be present at the conference in order to be eligible for the award.  We look forward to reading your submissions.