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Martha Joanna Lamb 1809 ~ 1893


Mrs. Martha Joanna Lamb was born on August 18, 1809, at Plainfield, Massachusetts. She was at one time considered the leading woman historian of the nineteenth century. She is a life member of the American Historical Association and a Fellow of the Clarendon Association of Edinburgh, Scotland. Was editor of the Magazine of American History for eleven years.

Her father was Arvin Nash and her mother was Lucinda Vinton. Her grandfather, Jacob Nash, was a Revolutionary soldier. The family is an old English one and to it belong the Rev. Treadway Nash D.D., the historian, and his wife, Joanna Rcade, and to her family belongs Charles Reade, the well-known novelist. The ancestors of the Reade family came to America in the "Mayflower."

Mrs. Lamb made her home at different times at Goshen, Massachusetts, Northampton and Easthampton. In 1882 she became the wife of Charles A. Lamb, and became conspicuous in charitable work in the city of Chicago, in which they resided from 1857 to 1866. She was an active worker after the great fire of 1863. In 1866 the Lambs made their home in New York City.

Mrs. Lamb had always been a woman of remarkable mathematical talent and training. In 1879 she prepared for Harper's Magazine a notable paper translating to unlearned readers the mysteries and work of the Coast Survey. She has written a remarkable history of the city of New York, in two volumes, which was pronounced by competent authorities to be the best history ever written on any great city in the world. The preparation of this work required fifteen years of study and research.

The list of Mrs. Lamb's works is long and distinguished, among them many historical sketches. Some titles are: "Lyme, a Chapter of American Genealogy"; "Chimes of Old Trinity," "State and Society in Washington," "The Coast Survey," "The Homes of America," "Memorial to Dr. Rust" and the "Philanthropist;" several sketches for magazines, "Unsuccessful candidates for the Presidential Nomination," sketch of Major-General John A. Dix, "Historical Homes in Lafayette Place," "The Historical Homes of Our Presidents." It is said that Mrs. Lamb wrote upwards of two hundred articles, essays and short stories, for weekly and monthly periodicals, but her greatest work was her "History of the City of New York," which is a standard authority and will be throughout all time. Mrs. Lamb died in 1893.

Women of America

Source: The Part Taken by Women in American History, By Mrs. John A. Logan, Published by The Perry-Nalle Publishing Company, Wilmington, Delaware, 1912.


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