Lydia Maria Child, née Francis, was born in Medford, Massachusetts, the youngest of six children. She received her early education at a local dame school. Her mother died when she was 12 years old, and she spent her teenage years living with a married sister in rural Maine, where she studied to be a teacher. She read an article in the North American Review about novels on early New England history, and immediately wrote the first chapter of a novel called Hobomok: A Tale of Early Times, which she completed in six weeks and published in 1824. It became an overnight sensation. Two years later, she founded the Juvenile Miscellany, the first American children's magazine. In 1828, she married David Lee Child, a Boston lawyer, journalist, and aspiring politician. He went into debt and she supported them with her prolific writings, which included more novels, short stories, pamphlets, and journalism. She became a leading anti-slavery activist in the 1830s, and was elected to the executive committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society, whose journal, the National Anti-Slavery Standard, she edited and made into an influential publication. She quit the AASS in 1843 after a major disagreement, and although she worked for the equality of women and Native Americans, she never again joined an organized society. Today she is considered a major link between the worlds of American literature and social reform.