Lucy Aikin was born into a literary family. Her father was a physician, historian, and writer, and her paternal aunt was Anna Laetitia Barbauld, who wrote poetry, essays, and early children's literature. Her brother Arthur Aikin grew up to be a scientific writer. Lucy was educated by her father and her aunt, and according to her biographer, read widely in English, French, Italian, and Latin literature and history. She began submitting articles to magazines at age 17, and served as her father's editor for his writings. She's probably best known for her historical works, among them Memoirs of the Court of Queen Elizabeth (1818), Memoirs of the Court of James I (1822), and Memoirs of the Court of Charles I (1833).
She also produced several works to assist young readers, such as Poetry for Children: Consisting of Short Pieces to be Committed to Memory (1801), An English Lesson Book, for the Junior Classes (1828), and The Acts of Life: of Providing Food, of Providing Clothing, of Providing Shelter (1858).
She translated French works, including Jean Gaspard Hess’s The Life of Ulrich Zwingli (1812). She wrote a novel, Lorimer, a Tale (1814), and biographical works, including The Works of Anna Laetita Barbauld (1825), The Life of Anne Boleyn (1827), and The Life of Joseph Addison (1843).
Under the pseudonym Mary Godolphin, Lucy Aikin published versions of Pilgrim's Progress, Robinson Crusoe, Swiss Family Robinson, and Aesop's Fables.