Maria White Lowell
Life and career
She became heavily involved in the temperance movement and was a supporter of women's rights. On November 6, 1839, she was one of the local women who attended the first "conversation" organized by women's rights advocate Margaret Fuller.
The same year, Maria White's brother William introduced her to his Harvard College classmate, James Russell Lowell. The two became engaged in the autumn of 1840. However, her father Abijah White, a wealthy merchant, insisted that the wedding be postponed until Lowell had gainful employment.
Shortly after Lowell published Conversations on the Old Poets, a collection of his previously published essays, the couple married on December 26, 1844 at her father's house. The new husband believed she was made up "half of earth and more than of Heaven". A friend described their relationship as "the very picture of a True Marriage".
White, who become involved in movements against intemperance and slavery, joined the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society and persuaded Lowell to become an abolitionist. The new Mrs. Lowell, however, was in poor health and the couple moved to Philadelphia shortly after their marriage in the hopes she would be healed there. In the spring of 1845, the Lowells returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts to make their home at Elmwood in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They had four children, though only one survived past infancy. Their first, Blanche, was born December 31, 1845, but lived only fifteen months; Rose, born in 1849, survived only a few months as well; their only son, Walter, was born in 1850 but died in 1852. Only their fourth child, Mabel, survived to adulthood.
Frail, delicate, and plagued by ill health throughout her life, Maria White Lowell died on October 27, 1853, at the age of 32 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is buried with her husband in Mount Auburn Cemetery. A volume of her poems was printed privately after her death (Cambridge, 1855). The best known of them are “The Alpine Shepherd” and “The Morning-Glory.”
Critical response and influence
In 1870, when Emily Dickinson first met Thomas Wentworth Higginson, he mentioned the poetry of Maria White Lowell. Dickinson asked to know more and she may have been inspired by her work. One of Lowell's poems, "The Sick Room," has been described as "Dickinsonian". Her poem "The Grave of Keats" was published in the 1874 anthology Poems of Places, edited by former neighbor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
- "Two souls with but a single thought, two hearts that beat as one." - translated by Lowell from Bellinghausen's drama, "Der Sohn der Wildnis (1842)" into the play Ingomar the Barbarian
- Walker, Cherly, editor. American Women Poets of the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology. New Jersey: Rutgers Press, 1992: 186. ISBN 0-8135-1791-5
- Slater, Abby. In Search of Margaret Fuller. New York: Delacorte Press, 1978: 43. ISBN 0-440-03944-4
- Wagenknecht, Edward. James Russell Lowell: Portrait of a Many-Sided Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971: 135
- Sullivan, Wilson. New England Men of Letters. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1972: 210. ISBN 0-02-788680-8
- Heymann, C. David. American Aristocracy: The Lives and Times of James Russell, Amy, and Robert Lowell. New York: Dodd, Mead & Company, 1980: 73. ISBN 0-396-07608-4
- Duberman, Martin. James Russell Lowell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1966: 68.
- Sullivan, Wilson. New England Men of Letters. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1972: 211. ISBN 0-02-788680-8
- Yellin, Jean Fagan. "Hawthorne and the Slavery Question", A Historical Guide to Nathaniel Hawthorne, Larry J. Reynolds, ed. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001: 45. ISBN 0-19-512414-6
- Wagenknecht, Edward. James Russell Lowell: Portrait of a Many-Sided Man. New York: Oxford University Press, 1971: 16
- Sullivan, Wilson. New England Men of Letters. New York: The Macmillan Company, 1972: 213. ISBN 0-02-788680-8
- Duberman, Martin. James Russell Lowell. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1966: 134.
- Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Lowell, James Russell". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton.
- Mamunes, George. So Has a Daisy Vanished: Emily Dickinson and Tuberculosis. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2008: 92. ISBN 978-0-7864-3227-1
- Mamunes, George. So Has a Daisy Vanished: Emily Dickinson and Tuberculosis. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company, 2008: 95. ISBN 978-0-7864-3227-1
- Irmscher, Christoph. Longfellow Redux. University of Illinois, 2006: 210. ISBN 978-0-252-03063-5
- Palmer, Cynthia and Michael Horowitz. Sisters of the Extreme: Women Writing on the Drug Experience. Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions / Bear & Company, 2000: 37. ISBN 978-0-89281-757-3
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
Maria White Lowell
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Maria White Lowell.|
- Lowell, Maria, (Bruce Rogers, editor), The Poems of Maria Lowell. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Riverside Press, 1907.
- Vernon, Hope Jillson, The Poems of Maria Lowell, with unpublished letters and a biography. Providence, Rhode Island: Brown University Press, 1936.