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Isabella Mary Beeton (1836–1865) by Maull & Polyblank, c. 1860–65 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Beeton [née Mayson], Isabella Mary (1836–1865), writer on household management and journalist, was born on 14 March 1836 at Milk Street, off Cheapside in the City of London, the eldest in the family of three daughters and a son of Benjamin Mayson (1801–1840)...

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Colling, Mary Maria (1804–1853), poet and domestic servant, was born on 20 August 1804 (although she later claimed to have been born a year later), in Tavistock, Devon, and was baptized there on 2 September 1804, the daughter of Edmund Colling (1769/70–1855), husbandman and assistant to the surveyor of the highways, and his wife, ...

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Gronniosaw, Ukawsaw [pseud. James Albert] (1710x14–1775), freed slave and autobiographer, was probably born in Bornu (now north-eastern Nigeria), the youngest of the six children of the eldest daughter of the king of Bournou (Bornu). Spiritually dissatisfied with the animist faith in which he was brought up, he soon alienated himself from his friends and relatives by his constant questions challenging their faith in physical objects, as well as by his growing belief in the existence of an uncreated creator. Increasingly 'dejected and melancholy' (...

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Harrower, John (1733–1777?), indentured servant and journal writer, was probably born in Scotland, though further details of his parentage and upbringing are unknown. Some time after 1750 he moved to Twageos, a small community contiguous to Lerwick in the Shetland Islands. There Harrower...

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Jermy [née Withers], Louise Jane [Louisa] (1877–1952), domestic servant and autobiographer, was born on 30 January 1877 at Howe Lane, Romsey, Hampshire, on the Broadlands estate where her maternal grandmother, Sarah Medley, was laundress to the ‘great house’. Her mother, Selina (...

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Macdonald, John (b. 1741), domestic servant and memoirist, was born in the parish of Urquhart, Inverness-shire, the son of a gentleman cattle dealer whose wife, from a Mackay family, died two years after Macdonald's birth. Macdonald's father fought with the Jacobite highlanders and was killed at the battle of ...

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Moraley, William (1698–1762), indentured servant and writer, was born on 25 February 1698 and baptized on 1 March at Christ Church, Greyfriars, Newgate, London, the only child of William Moraley (d. 1725), a journeyman watchmaker, and Martha, née Mason (d. 1740)...

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Peel [née Bayliff], Constance Dorothy Evelyn (1868–1934), journalist and writer on household management, was born on 27 April 1868 at Ganarew, Herefordshire, the seventh of nine children (four of whom died in infancy) of Richard Lane Bayliff, captain in the 100th regiment...

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Powell [née Steer], (Ellen) Margaret (1907–1984), domestic servant and writer, was born on 30 October 1907 at 10 Montgomery Street, Hove, Sussex, the eldest daughter and the second of seven children of Harry Steer (b. c.1882), a painter and decorator, and his wife, ...

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Prince [married name James], Mary (b. c. 1788), freed slave, was born at Brackish Pond, Devonshire parish, Bermuda. She was the daughter of slaves: her mother was a house-servant, her father, named Prince, was a sawyer. Mary (or Molly) Prince was the first black British woman to ‘walk away’ from slavery, claim her freedom, and chronicle her experiences. Her narrative, entitled ...

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Reynolds, Nancie Clifton [real name Agnes Margaret Warden Hardie; married name Reynolds] (1903–1931), domestic advice writer and broadcaster, was born on 6 February 1903 at 3 Eton Villas, Haverstock Hill, London, the eldest of three daughters of James Hogg Hardie (1874–1957), a commercial traveller and later a woollen merchant, and his wife, ...

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West, Elisabeth (fl. 1690–1709), servant and memoirist, was born in Edinburgh. Details of her parents are not known apart from the fact that her father died on 13 January 1700. She received her early instruction from her mother and an aunt, who took great pains with her education. In the period covered by her memoir she was a servant to a succession of families in and around ...