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:
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Came to His chosen where they were withdrawn.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! He said.
Behold! believe that it is I!
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.
At the Beautiful Gate, 1892