Look What You Started Mrs. Farrar!

Eliza Rotch Farrar

You probably knew this...

Elizabeth Rotch Farrar was the benefactor of this Library with a gift of over 1000 volumes.  Her will admitted to probate on July 19, 1870, made this bequest:  "All the rest of my library I give and bequeath to the inhabitants of Lincoln, Massachusetts, for the purpose of forming part of a public library for the use of said town."


But do you know this...

  • Eliza Farrar was a published author who received a classical education, spent her girlhood in France and England, and was acquainted with many eminent Europeans and Americans.  When her father lost his fortune in 1819, she went to live with her grandparents in New Bedford, MA.


  • Farrar launched her writing career in Europe.  Two years after her marriage to well-known Harvard Professor (Lincoln born) John Farrar, she published her first book in Boston.  In The Children's Robinson Crusoe (1830), she offers a cleaned up version of Robinson Crusoe.  Farrar found "the narrative of a profane, ill-educated, runaway appprentice of the 17th-century ... (ill)- suited to children who have been carefully guarded from all profaneness, vulgarity, and superstition.


  • In The Story of the Life of Lafayette as Told by a Father to His Children (1831), Henry Moreton tells his father he wishes he lived in the days of Alexander or Caesar and could see these great men.  His father reminds him that Henry has seen on Boston Common "one of the most extraordinary men that ever lived!"


  • The Young Lady's Friend (1836) was Farrar's most important work, widely popular in England and American and reprinted as late as 1880.  An etiquette manual for middle-class girls instructs readers that their intellectual life does not end when they leave the schoolroom.  The Young Lady's Friend provides valuable insight into the activities of the 19th century American middle class.


  • Farrar's writing shares concerns about social issues such as prison reform, abolitionism, and women's education.


  • Farrar cared for her invalid husband for 14 years before his death in 1853.  Her last book, Recollections of Seventy Years (1865) are the tales she told to enliven his sickroom.  They provide fascinating glimpses of life in England and France between 1783 and 1819.  They are an enjoyable read even today.


Look What You Started Mrs. Farrar!