American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes

SIGOURNEY, LYDIA [HOWARD HUNTLEY] (1791-1865). Lydia Sigourney, the “sweet singer of Hartford,” was one of the most famous literary women in nineteenth-century America. Her interest in the ocean and the sailing life came from her many excursions along the New England coast and a trip to Europe in 1840. She collected her poems about sailors and the ocean in a volume entitled The Sea and the Sailor (1845). Other editions were published as Poems for the Sea and Poetry for Seamen. Meant to be a “companion to the voyager,” her poems are reminders of the blessings of home; many of the poems depict the sad farewells and the blissful reunions so common to the seafaring life. Sigourney’s poetry also has a strong evangelical theme: it contains many prayers for the safety of sailors and reminds readers that the wonders of the sea are the work of God. [See also SEA IMAGERY IN MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY POETRY]

Karen Woods Weierman