Born: March 5, 1824, Be­ver­ly, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Died: Ap­ril 17, 1893, Bos­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts.

Buried: Cen­tral Ce­me­te­ry, Be­ve­rly, Mas­sa­chu­setts.



Larcom was daugh­ter of Ben­ja­min Lar­com and Lo­is Bar­rett. Her sea cap­tain fa­ther died when she was ve­ry young. She ne­ver mar­ried.

When she was 11 years old, her fa­mi­ly moved to Lo­well, Mas­sa­chu­setts, where her mo­ther got a job as su­per­in­ten­dent of a fe­male dor­mi­to­ry at the lo­cal tex­tile mill. Lu­cy worked in the mills for 10 years.

Her spir­it was ir­re­pres­si­ble, though, and she be­came ac­quaint­ed with Quak­er po­et John Whit­ti­er, and was a good friend of his sis­ter. Thus be­gan a life­long as­so­ci­ation with the world of po­et­ry and writ­ing.

In 1846, Lu­cy left Lo­well, set­tling in Il­li­nois, where she taught school for three years. From 1849–52, she at­tend­ed Mon­ti­cel­lo Se­mi­na­ry in God­frey, Il­li­nois. Af­ter­ward, she re­turned to Be­ver­ly, where she paint­ed, stu­died French, and taught li­te­ra­ture.

In 1849, her work was men­tioned in Fe­male Po­ets of Am­eri­ca, by Ru­fus W. Gris­wald. In 1854, Lu­cy won a prize for her po­em Call to Kan­sas. From 1854–62, she taught at Whea­ton in Nor­ton, Mas­sa­chu­setts: Eng­lish, mor­al phi­lo­so­phy, lo­gic, his­to­ry, and bo­ta­ny. She al­so found­ed the col­lege news­pa­per.


From 1865–73, she helped ed­it the child­ren’s ma­ga­zine Our Young Folks.

After leav­ing Whea­ton, Lu­cy spent the rest of her life writ­ing, con­tri­but­ing to Whit­ti­er’s an­tho­lo­gies, St. Ni­cho­las, the Youth’s Com­pan­ion, and the At­lan­tic Month­ly.

At one point, she de­clared would write on­ly hymns, if she could get the pub­lish­ers to ac­cept them: To sing of light and sal­va­tion for all, is not that the new song?

Her pub­lished works in­clude:


The Lamb That Was Slain

I had a haunting thought at Easter-tide,
Musing between the twilight and the dawn,
Of our dear Lord and friend, who, having died,
Came to His chosen where they were withdrawn.

Came, while they talked of His mysterious death,
And doubted if He had arisen indeed;
Breathed on them with His loving, giving breath,
Their Master, from the grave’s enthrallment freed.

Reach hither, Thomas! see and touch My wounds!
Behold! believe that it is I!
He said.
Down unto us the wondrous word resounds—
The death marks on Him, yet He was not dead.

They were the sure proofs that He was alive:
The doubter’s finger traced His dreadful scars:
Bears He not still those fatal tokens five
Within the unseen heavens beyond the stars?

The heart, the hands, the feet, have bled for us;
More than our common curse of death He knew:
Into His spotless nature glorious
The eternal sorrow of our sins He drew.

This is the wonder John in Patmos saw—
The vision of the Lamb that had been slain:
Sacred to us forever is God’s Law,
Writ in the awful print-marks of His pain!

Still is He touched with our infirmity;
Yearning to win us from our shame and wrong,
Still must His wounds throb, when we go as­tray
From His dear Father’s house, where we belong.

The memory of the path for us He trod
No splendor of the heaven of heavens can dim:
By His deep human love, the Son of God
Must always draw our human hearts to Him.

Lucy Larcom
At the Beautiful Gate, 1892