Mary Caroline, known as Lina, and her sister (and co-author) Adelia Belle Beard were born in Covington, Kentucky, on July 20, 1853, and April 1, 1857, respectively. Their father, James, and their uncle, William, were both successful painters, and three of their four brothers chose the path of artistry in some medium, so they too seemed destined for greatness. The two sisters recieved their education at private institutions in their hometown of Covington, as well as in Cinicinnati and New York. Following in the footsteps of their elder brother, Daniel, who was an author and illustrater, Lina and Adelia turned to careers in publishing, and they both supplied work frequently to children's magizines. Five years after Daniel's sucess with his The American Boy's Handy Book
, the sisters introduced The American Girl's Handy Book
in 1887. This volume taught girls to explore and enjoy the outdoors and included sections on hiking and the construction of tin can lanterns and hammoks. In all ways defing modern perceptions of lady-like behavior, the Handy Book even had a chapter entitled, "A Heap of Rubbish and What to Do With It". In the early 1900's, Lina, with the assistance of her brother, Daniel, also helped to found both the Girl Pioneers of America and the Campfire Girls, of which Lina became the national treasurer.
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