The Lady from Philadelphia: The Peterkin Papers

Lucretia P. Hale (Author)


The Lady from Philadelphia records the antics of the most memorably and hopelessly bumbling of respectable American families. Confronted by the endless challenges of daily life, the Peterkins rise to every occasion with misguided aplomb: They sit out in the sun for hours and fail to go for a ride because they've forgotten to unhitch the horse; they play the piano from the porch through the parlor window because the movers left the keyboard turned that way; they decide to raise the ceiling to accommodate a too-tall Christmas tree. Only the timely intervention of their great and good friend, the lady from Philadelphia, can be counted on to get the Peterkins out of their latest scrape.

A classic of American children's literature and a masterpiece of deadpan drollery, The Lady from Philadelphia restores our astonishment at the ordinary, finding a rich vein of humor and happy surprise in the mere fact of our surviving the trivialities and tribulations of family life.

Product Details

$12.99  $11.95
Nyrb Kids
Publish Date
August 27, 2019
5.1 X 0.8 X 7.5 inches | 0.6 pounds
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About the Author

Lucretia Peabody Hale (1820-1900) was descended from two of New England's most illustrious families and grew up surrounded by Boston's nineteenth-century intelligentsia. Her father, Nathan Hale, was the publisher of The Boston Daily Advertiser; her uncle Edward Everett was a United States senator and later the president of Harvard; and her brother Edward Everett Hale was a well-known Unitarian clergyman and abolitionist. She was educated at progressive schools and, from a young age, helped her father with various editorial tasks at his paper. By the time she was in her twenties, she was able to support herself by writing for several publications, including The Atlantic Monthly. Hale liked to amuse her young friends and relations with tales of the antic Peterkin family, and when Our Folks, a popular children's magazine, issued a call for fiction that was not just morally improving, she sent some of her stories. "The Lady Who Put Salt in Her Coffee" was published in 1868 and proved an instant success; stories continued to appear for nine years and were collected in two volumes. Hale was also active in charity and politics, overcoming fierce opposition, from her brother Charles among others, to be elected as the first woman member of the Boston School Committee.


"How sorry we have felt for those who knew not Lucretia Hale and the Peterkins...a masterpiece." --The New York Times

"Lucretia P. Hale's Peterkin family and 'the lady from Philadelphia' are standard characters in American fiction, and surely that is much to say of an author in these book-crowded days.... Few writers leave behind them such a tribute to their greatness as the Peterkins are to Lucretia P. Hale, for the years pass them along to every new generation with the hint that human nature is about the same everywhere and all the time." --Harper's Bazaar

"People young and old, solemn and gay, rich and poor, will be glad to welcome a new edition of [The Lady from Philadelphia]. It is pleasant to meet the Peterkin family again...." --Chicago Tribune