Maria Lowell (White)

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Anna Maria Lowell (White)

Birthplace: Watertown, MIddlesex, MA, United States
Death: October 27, 1853 (32)
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States (tuberculosis)
Place of Burial: Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Immediate Family:

Daughter of Abijah White and Ann Maria White
Wife of James Russell Lowell
Mother of Blanche Lowell; Mabel White Burnett; Rose Lowell and Walter Lowell
Sister of Agnes Howard White; Mary Green Elliot; Lois Lillie Howe and William White

Occupation: poet and abolitionist
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Maria Lowell (White)

Maria White Lowell was an American poet and abolitionist.

Maria was born in Watertown, Massachusetts to a middle-class intellectual family. She was raised under a strict ascetic discipline at an Ursuline Convent which was later burned by a mob in 1834.

She became heavily involved in the temperance movement and was a supporter of women's rights. On November 6, 1839, she was one of the local women who attended the first "conversation" organized by women's rights advocate Margaret Fuller.

The same year, Maria White's brother William introduced her to his Harvard College classmate, James Russell Lowell. The two became engaged in the autumn of 1840. However, her father Abijah White, a wealthy merchant, insisted that the wedding be postponed until Lowell had gainful employment.

Shortly after Lowell published Conversations on the Old Poets, a collection of his previously published essays, the couple married on December 26, 1844 at her father's house. The new husband believed she was made up "half of earth and more than of Heaven". A friend described their relationship as "the very picture of a True Marriage".

White, who become involved in movements against intemperance and slavery, joined the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society and persuaded Lowell to become an abolitionist. The new Mrs. Lowell, however, was in poor health and the couple moved to Philadelphia shortly after their marriage in the hopes she would be healed there. In the spring of 1845, the Lowells returned to Cambridge, Massachusetts to make their home at Elmwood in Cambridge, Massachusetts. They had four children, though only one survived past infancy. Their first, Blanche, was born December 31, 1845, but lived only fifteen months; Rose, born in 1849, survived only a few months as well; their only son, Walter, was born in 1850 but died in 1852. Only their fourth child, Mabel, survived to adulthood.

Frail, delicate, and plagued by ill health throughout her life, Maria White Lowell died on October 27, 1853, at the age of 32 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is buried with her husband in Mount Auburn Cemetery.

In 1870, when Emily Dickinson first met Thomas Wentworth Higginson, he mentioned the poetry of Maria White Lowell. Dickinson asked to know more and she may have been inspired by her work. One of Lowell's poems, "The Sick Room," has been described as "Dickinsonian". Her poem "The Grave of Keats" was published in the 1874 anthology Poems of Places, edited by former neighbor Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Amy Lowell, a descendant of the family, praised Maria Lowell's writing: "That is poetry! It is better than anything her husband ever wrote, and he always said that she was a better poet than he."

Quotes "Two souls with a single thought, two hearts that beat as one."

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Maria Lowell (White)'s Timeline

July 8, 1821
Watertown, MIddlesex, MA, United States
December 31, 1845
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
September 9, 1847
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
July 16, 1849
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
December 22, 1850
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
October 27, 1853
Age 32
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States
Cambridge, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, United States