March 5, 1824, Beverly, Massachusetts.

April 17, 1893, Boston, Massachusetts.

Central Cemetery, Beverly, Massachusetts.


Larcom was the ninth of ten children. Her sea captain father died when she was very young. 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 herself 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?

Lucy never married. Her works include:

  1. Breaks the Joyful Easter Dawn
  2. Draw Thou My Soul, O Christ
  3. Hand in Hand with Angels
  4. Heavenly Helper, Friend Divine
  5. If the World Seems Cold to You
  6. In Christ I Feel the Heart of God
  7. O God, Thy World Is Sweet with Prayer
  8. O Spirit, Whose Name Is the Savior
  9. Open Your Hearts as a Flower to the Light
  10. Ring, Happy Bells of Easter Time
  11. Thanksgiving, A
  12. When for the Silent Oar