Ednah Dow Littlehale Cheney

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Ednah Dow Littlehale Cheney.jpg

Ednah Dow Littlehale Cheney (June 27, 1824 – November 19, 1904) was a writer, reformer, and philanthropist, born on Beacon Hill, Boston to Sargent Smith Littledale and Ednah Parker (Dow). She was educated in private schools in Boston.[1] She was secretary of the School of Design for Women from 1851 till 1854.[1]

She married portrait artist Seth Wells Cheney on May 19, 1853. His ill health limited his volume of work and after a winter trip abroad (1854-1855) he died in 1856. They had one child, Margaret Swan Cheney (September 8, 1855 – September 22, 1882). Margaret Swan Cheney died of tuberculosis while a student in the 1882 class at MIT and a reception room of the Women’s Chemistry Laboratory was named in her memory.[2]

After her husband's death she took an interest in social concerns such as the Freedman's Aid Society (secretary of the committee on aid for colored regiments and of the teachers' committee, 1863), Massachusetts Woman Suffrage Association (vice president), New England Women's Club (vice president) and the New England Hospital for Women and Children (secretary, 1862).[1] She lectured at the Concord School of Philosophy on the history of art. She was an active member of the Margaret Fuller conversation class.

She went south to visit the Freedmen's schools in 1866, 1868, and 1869. She visited Europe several times, and spoke before lyceums west of New England in 1873, 1875, and 1876.[1]

The location where her home stood in Jamaica Plain is a site on the Boston Women's Heritage Trail.[3]


  • Patience: a series of thirty games with cards. 1870
  • Social games. A collection of 31 games with cards. 1871
  • Faithful to the Light and Other Tales. 1871
  • Sally Williams, the mountain girl. 1872
  • The Child of the Tide / By Ednah D. Cheney. 1874
  • Memoir of Susan Dimock : resident physician of the New England Hospital for Women and Children. 1875
  • Jenny of the Lighthouse. 1877
  • Memoir of Seth W. Cheney, artist. 1881
  • Gleanings in the Fields of Art. 1881
  • Louisa May Alcott, the Children's Friend. 1888
  • The Life of Louisa May Alcott. 1888
  • Memoir of John Cheney, Engraver. 1889
  • Nora’s return : a sequel to "The doll’s house" of Henry Ibsen / by Ednah D. Cheney. 1890
  • Memoirs of Lucretia Crocker and Abby W. May. 1893
  • Life of Christian Daniel Rauch of Berlin, Germany. Drawn from German authorities by Ednah D. Cheney. 1893
  • Reminiscences of Ednah Dow Cheney (born Littlehale). 1902
Portrait of Cheney


  1. ^ a b c d Wikisource-logo.svg Wilson, James Grant; Fiske, John, eds. (1900). "Cheney, Charles". Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography. New York: D. Appleton. 
  2. ^ AMITA.org (Association of MIT Alumnae)
  3. ^ "Jamaica Plain". Boston Women's Heritage Trail. 


  • Ednah Dow Cheney, 1824-1904: memorial meeting, New England Women's Club, Boston, February 20, 1905. Boston: Geo. H. Ellis Co., printers, 1905.
  • "Cheney, Ednah Dow Littlehale." American Authors 1600 – 1900. H. W. Wilson Company, NY 1938.
  • Ingebritsen, Shirley Phillips. "Cheney, Ednah Dow Littlehale" Notable American Women. Vol. 1, 4th ed., The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1975
  • Worldcat.org Accessed May 27, 2007

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