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A portrait of Lydia Maria Child, an abolitionist who helped Harriet Jacobs to prepare her narrative for publication.

For much of the twentieth century, Child was credited with either making up or highly embellishing much of Jacobs' narrative as historians resisted crediting the work to Jacobs. In the 1970s and 1980s, historian Jean Fagan Yellin used historical documents and Jacobs’ letters to verify that she not only wrote the book but that it was true to her life experience.