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John Mitchell (1794-1870) a leading Congregational Minister of the 19th century New England wrote this book as a tribute to his mother, Mrs. Abigail Mitchell. One celebrated author of the day said, "It is one of those rare pictures painted from life with the exquisite skill of one of the old masters, which so seldom present themselves to the amateur." Originally published in 1849, the aim and character of the work is described by the author in the following words: "However much of a biographical nature may be found in it, this was not intended as a biography, as some have conceived it to be. Its aim was educational. It was believed that such observations on maternal influence and domestic life as are here drawn from memory, presented in a narrative way, might be attractive and useful to mothers of young families; perhaps, also, to husbands and fathers."