Woman of the Century/Martha Joanna Lamb

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LAMB, Mrs. Martha Joanna, historian, born in Plainfield, Mass., 13th August. 1829. She has long In-en a resident of New York City, where she has earned her reputation of the leading woman historian of the nineteenth century. She is a middle-aged woman, a good talker and a most industrious worker in the historic and literary field. Recognition of her genius has been prompt and full. She has been elected to honorary membership in twenty-seven historical and learned societies in this country and Europe, and she is a life-member of the American Historical Association and a fellow of the Clarendon Historical Association of Edinburgh, Scotland. She holds her precedence by the high character and importune of the subjects to which her abilities have been devoted. She is at present the editor of the "Magazine of American History," a position of great responsibility which she has filled acceptably for ten consecutive years. The name that this peripdical has won, of being the best distinctively historical magazine in the world, and its growth since Mrs. Lamb has occupied the editorial chair, tell very forcibly that she not only loves facts, but knows perfectly well how to use them. Her father was Arvin Nash, and her mother, Lucinda Vinton, of Huguenot descent. Mrs. Lamb was the grand-daughter of Jacob Nash, a Revolutionary soldier, of an old English family of whom was the Rev. Treadway Nash, D.D., the historian, and his wife, Joanna Reade, (of the same family as Charles Reade) whose ancestors came to America in the Mayflower. She comes of such stock as she describes in her article, "Historic Homes on Golden Hills." Much of her early life was spent in Goshen, Mass., and part of her school life in Northampton and Easthampton. She was a bright, healthy, animated girl, full of energy and with faith in her own ability to perform any feat. She developed precocious talents at an early age, and wrote poetry and stories before she was ten years old. She was in her happiest mood when among the books of her father's library, and eagerly devoured all the historical works she found MARTHA JOANNA LAMB A woman of the century (page 455 crop).jpgMARTHA JOANNA LAMB. there, and scandalized her family and amused her friends by innocently borrowing precious volumes from the neighbors. A distinguished teacher developed her taste for mathematics, in which she became an enthusiast, and at one time, for a brief period, occupied the important chair of mathematics in a polytechnic institute, and was invited to revise and edit a mathematical work for the higher classes in polytechnic schools. She became the wife, in 1852, of Charles A. Lamb and resided in Chicago, Ill., from 1857 to 1866, where she was prominent in many notable charities. She was one of the founders of two that are still in existence. In 1863 she was made secretary of the first sanitary fair in the country, the success of which is said to have been largely due to her executive ability, and she was prominently concerned in the second sanitary fair, held in Chicago at the close of the war. Since 1866 she has resided in New-York and devoted herself to historical and literary productions. Her fine mathematical training enabled her, in 1879, to prepare for Harpers the notable paper translating to unlearned readers the mysteries and work of the Coast Survey. Many of Mrs. Lamb's magazine articles are sufficiently important and elaborate to form separate volumes. Her distinguishing work, which occupied fifteen years of continuous and skillful labor in its preparation, is the "History of the City of New York," in two octavo volumes (New York, 1876 1881), pronounced by competent authorities the best history ever written of any great city in the world. Mrs. Lamb has also written and published "The Playschool Studies," 4 vols (Boston, 1871): "Aunt Mattie's Library." 4 vols. (Boston, 1871); "Spicy," a novel that chronicled the great Chicago fire in imperishable colors, (New York, 1873); "Lyme, A Chapter of American Genealogy," "Newark," a complete sketch of that city, and the "Tombs of Old Trinity," ("Harper's Magazine," 1876); "State and Society in Washington," "Harper's Magazine," 1878); "The Coast Survey," ("Harper's Magazine," 1879), "The Homes of America" (New York, 1879); "Memorial of Dr. J. D. Russ," the philanthropist. (New York. 1880): "The Christmas Owl" (New York, 1881); "The Christmas Basket" (New-York, 1882); "Snow and Sunshine" (New York, 1882); "The American Life Saving Service," ("Harper's Magazine," 1882); "Historical Sketch of New York," for tenth census, (1881); "Wall Street in History" (New York, 1883); "Unsuccessful Candidates for the Presidency of the Nation," "The Van Rensselaer Manor" ("Magazine of American History," 1884) "The Framers of the Constitution," "The Manor of Gardiner's Island," "Sketch of Major-General John A. Dix" ("Magazine of American History," 1885); "The Van Cortlandt Manor House," "Historic Homes in Lafayette Place," "The Founder, Presidents and Homes of the New York Historical Society" ("Magazine of American History," 1886); "The Historic Homes of our Presidents," "Historic Homes on Golden Hills," "The Manor of Shelter Island" ("Magazine of American History," 1887); "Foundation of Civil Government beyond the Ohio River, 1788-1888," "The Inauguration of Washington in 1789," written by special request of the New York Historical Society ("Magazine of American History," 1888); "Historic Homes and landmarks in New York," three papers, "The Story of the Washington Centennial" ("Magazine of American History," 1889); "America's Congress of Historical Scholars," "Our South American Neighbors," "American Out-growths of Continental Europe," "The Golden Age of Colonial New York" ("Magazine of American History," 1890); "Formative Influences," ("The Forum," 1890); "William H. Seward, a Great Public Character." "Glimpses of the Railroad in History," "The Royal Society of Canada," "Some Interesting Facts about Electricity," "A Group of Columbus Portraits," "Judge Charles Johnson McCurdy" ("Magazine of American History," 1891); "The Walters Collection of Art Treasures," "Progression of Steam Navigation, 1807-1892," ("Magazine of American History." 1892). Aside from these prominent papers mentioned, Mrs. Lamb has written upwards of two-hundred historic articles, essays and short stories for weekly and monthly periodicals. Her greatest achievement, however, is her "History of the City of New York," a work so comprehensive and exhaustive that it has become a standard for all time.