Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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FARLEY, Harriet, editor, born in Claremont, New Hampshire, about 1815. She was the daughter of a Congregational clergyman, and at the age of fourteen began to earn her own living, by turns working at straw and palm leaf plaiting, binding shoes, tailoring, weaving, and teaching. Her father then removed to Atkinson, New Hampshire, and combined the duties of principal of two academies with those of his pastorate. Here she learned something of French, drawing, ornamental needlework, and the usual accomplishments of that day. These were taught her because her friends wished her to be a teacher, an occupation for which she felt the greatest repugnance. This feeling resulted in her leaving home, and, going to Lowell, she determined that if she must support herself she would do so in her own way. She would then, to use her own words, be at liberty to " read, think, and write " when she could, and without restraint.
She made good wages in the factories of that City, and expended her earnings in caring for her brothers and sisters, one of whom she assisted in educating. While she was thus engaged, the publication of " The New England Offering," the writers on which were exclusively women operatives in the mills of the City, was begun (January 1841). Harriet was at first a contributor to, and afterward the editor of, this novel literary venture. After a time she also became the proprietor. "I do all the publishing, editing, canvassing," she writes in a biographical letter, "and, as it is bound in my office, I can, in a hurry, help fold, cut covers, stitch, etc. I have a little girl to assist me in the folding, stitching, etc.; the rest, after it comes from the printer's hands, is all my own work. I employ no agents, and depend upon no one for assistance. My edition is 4,000."
Miss Farley published a volume containing extracts from "The Offering," including some of her own contributions, entitled "Shells from the Strand of the Sea of Genius" (Boston, 1847). In 1849 a second collection from the monthly was made and issued in London, with an introduction by Charles Knight, under the title "Mind Among the Spindles." An autobiographical sketch of Miss Farley, not written for publication, may be found in Mrs. Sarah J. time's "Biography of Distinguished Women."
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