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Lydia Howard Huntley
Mrs. Charles Sigourney
Mrs. Lydia Sigourney
Lydia Huntley Sigourney
Lydia Huntley
American, 1791 - 1865
Biography: Lydia Howard Huntley was born in Norwich, Connecticut, on 1 September 1791. She was the daughter of Ezekiel and Sophia Wentworth Huntley. Her father was the gardener at the Daniel Lathrop estate, and Lydia received an education from Mrs. Lathrop that included not only needlework, music, and other pursuits typical for young ladies, but also mathematics, Greek, and philosophy, which were usually reserved for young men. When Mrs. Lathrop died when Lydia Huntley was 14, she went to live with relatives in Hartford, Connecticut. In 1811, at age 20, Lydia Huntley opened a school for ladies in Norwich, Connecticut, and even offered lessons to poor children twice a week. In 1814, she opened a select seminary for young ladies. Also in 1814, she became a friend of Mrs. Wadsworth, the widow of Colonel Jeremiah Wadsworth. Her son, Daniel Wadsworth, encouraged Lydia Huntley to publish her writings. In 1815, "Moral Pieces in Prose and Verse" appeared anonymously. This launched a writing career that would make Lydia Huntley a household name. In 1819, Lydia Huntley married Charles Sigourney (1788-1854), a Hartford merchant, widower, and father of three. She had at least one son, Andrew Sigourney (d. 1850 at age 19), and a daughter, Mary Huntley Sigourney (1828-1889). Bowing to Charles' wishes, she gave up teaching and continued to write anonymously, because to do otherwise would be "unladylike". In 1834, however, Lydia Huntley Sigourney did choose to begin publishing under her real name. While this caused strain between her and her family, Lydia Sigourney did continue to be a very popular and well paid author. She published 53 volumes of prose and verse before her death on 10 June 1865.