Herrick, Christine Terhune (1859–1944)

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Herrick, Christine Terhune (1859–1944)

American writer who specialized in domestic science. Born Christine Terhune on June 13, 1859, in Newark, New Jersey; died on December 2, 1944, in Washington, D.C.; eldest daughter and the second of six children (three of whom survived) of Reverend Edward Payson Terhune and Mary Virginia (Hawes) Terhune (1830–1922, a writer); studied privately at home and in Rome and Geneva; married James Frederick Herrick (a newspaper editor), on April 23, 1884 (died 1893); children: Horace and James; and two children who died in infancy.

Christine Herrick was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1859. Her mother was the well-known writer Mary Virginia Terhune . Her father was the Reverend Edward Payson Terhune, pastor of the First Reformed Church in Newark, at the time of Herrick's birth, then later of the First Congregational Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. Schooled at home by private tutors, Herrick was a voracious reader, devouring her father's theological books when nothing else was available. The family spent two years abroad beginning in 1876, at which time Herrick studied in Rome and Geneva, and traveled in France and Germany. She taught English literature at a private girls' school in Springfield before her marriage in 1884 to James Frederick Herrick, editor of the Springfield Republican. In 1886, the couple moved to New York, where James took a position as the editor of a newspaper in Brooklyn. The couple had four children, two of whom, a boy and a girl, died in early childhood.

Christine Herrick's first article, "The Wastes of the Household," appeared in the maiden issue of Good Housekeeping in May 1885 and was followed by contributions to other popular journals, including the Ladies' Home Journal and Harper's Bazaar. By the time her first book, Housekeeping Made Easy, was published in 1888, she already had an impressive following. Between 1888 and 1893, she edited the woman's page of the Baptist New York Recorder and published four additional books, expanding her purview to cookery and child-rearing. When her husband died in 1893, Herrick was earning enough to send her two surviving sons to private school and college and finance several trips abroad.

Believing that women should continually expand their horizons, Herrick broadened the subject matter of her articles to include books, plays, sports, and even politics ("Do Women Want the Vote?"). In 1918, she published a diet book, Lose Weight and Be Well, using her own experience as the basis for a sensible approach to dieting. My Boy and I (1917) was also largely biographical. Herrick also collaborated on a series of cookbooks with her mother: The Cottage Kitchen (1895), The National Cook Book (1896), and The Helping Hand Cook Book (1912). In 1926, she adapted her mother's book, Common Sense in the Household, to incorporate the use of fuel and electricity in cooking. The result was The New Common Sense in the Household. Herrick's largest project was the editing of the Consolidated Library of Modern Cooking and Household Recipes, a five-volume set of cookbooks that was published in 1904.

Along with her writing career, Herrick supported a number of community and national organizations. She was active in Sorosis, a pioneering New York women's club, and was a member of the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America. Between 1908 and 1912, she was the comanager of the Chamber Recital Company. In the late 1920s, Herrick retired to Washington, D.C., to be near her son Horace. She died there in 1944, following a fall in which she fractured her leg.


James, Edward T., ed. Notable American Women. Cambridge, MA: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1971.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Herrick, Christine Terhune (1859–1944)

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