Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865)
One of the first American women to succeed at a literary career (Inducted 1994)
The house into which prolific writer Lydia Huntley was born in 1791 was built by Samuel Lathrop earlier in the century and rebuilt by Dr. Daniel Lathrop after a fire. Sigourney referred to "The Madame Lathrop House" in Letters of Life published in 1866. One of the first American women to succeed at a literary career, she started out as a teacher. Lydia Huntley moved to Hartford at the invitation of Daniel Wadsworth to open a school for the daughters of his friends. With her marriage to Charles Sigourney in 1819 came security and stability, allowing her to give up teaching and devote herself full-time to writing. At the request of her husband Sigourney published her work anonymously. That changed in 1833 when financial reverses necessitated an end to anonymity. She also used the proceeds from her writing to contribute to charitable causes. Sigourney sold poems and sketches to magazines, becoming extremely popular in the 1830s and 1840s. Her birthplace, now Lathrop Manor B & B, is located at 380 Washington Street in Norwich. Another inductee, Charlotte Gilman, moved into the house with her husband during the 1920s.
The Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame Historic Site Survey project was funded through generous grants from: