Eliza Lee Follen

ELIZA LEE FOLLEN (1787-1860) was the fifth of thirteen children in a prominent Boston family. Her father was engaged in international trade and diplomacy. Her intellectually accomplished mother assured that her daughters were well educated. In 1819, after the death of their father, Eliza and two of her sisters established their own household.

She belonged to a group that founded a Sunday school and met regularly to discuss religious issues. Through this group she met Charles Follen, an intellectual who had fled Germany because official opposition to his democratic views thwarted his academic career. They married in 1828; their only child, a son, was born in 1830.

Both Follens were outspoken early members of the Massachusetts antislavery movement. Charles was appointed Harvard's first German professor but was not reappointed because of his abolitionism. Following Charles's death in a shipwreck in 1840, Eliza broadened her activism and publishing, becoming one of Boston's most revered citizens.

From 1828-1830 she edited the Christian Teacher's Manual and from 1843- 1850 The Child's Friend, both Sunday school publications. "The Three Little Kittens" has been ascribed to Follen but was of unknown authorship, appended to the English edition of Follen's Little Songs, for Little Boys and Girls and retained in later American editions.

Follen also published editions of the writings of Fénélon, a seventeenth-century French liberal theorist, and of Charles Follen. Other writings: The Skeptic (1835) and Sketches of Married Life (1838). From Little Songs, for Little Boys and Girls (Boston: Whittemore, Niles and Hall; Milwaukie: A. Whittemore & Co., 1856). First edition published in 1833.