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Abdy [née Smith], Maria (c. 1800–1867), poet, was the daughter of Richard Smith, a solicitor, and his wife, Maria, née Smith (1773–1828/9), who was the daughter of a solicitor and sister of James Smith (1775–1839) and Horatio (Horace) Smith (1779–1849), joint authors of the famous poetic parodies ...

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Ackland, Mary Kathleen Macrory- [pseud. Valentine Ackland] (1906–1969), poet, was born on 20 May 1906 at 54 Brook Street, Mayfair, London, the younger daughter of Robert Craig Ackland (1865–1923), a West End dental surgeon, and his wife, Ruth Kathleen, née Macrory (1876/7–1961)...

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Acton, Eliza (1799–1859), writer on cookery and poet, was born at Battle, Sussex, on 17 April 1799, the eldest of the five children of John Acton and his wife, Elizabeth, née Mercer. The Actons were a Suffolk family, and returned there soon after ...

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Adam [Adams], Jean (1704–1765), poet, was born on 28 April 1704 in Cartsdyke, near Greenock, Renfrewshire, one of five children of John Adam, a mariner, and his wife, Jean Eddie, reportedly a woman of little common sense. Jean Adam's scanty education comprised reading, writing, and sewing, but after her father's death when she was still young she entered domestic service with the minister of ...

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Sarah Flower Adams (1805–1848) after Margaret Gillies © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Adams, Sarah Flower (1805–1848), poet, was born on 22 February 1805 at Great Harlow, Essex, the daughter of Benjamin Flower (1755–1829), nonconformist editor of the radical Cambridge Intelligencer, and Eliza Gould (1770–1810), a Devon schoolteacher. Her father was famous for going to prison in defence of his right to freedom of expression in 1799, while her mother had been forced out of her school for refusing on principle to cancel her subscription to his ...

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Cecil Frances Alexander (1818–1895) by Charles Napier Kennedy, 1894 photograph © Ulster Museum. Photograph reproduced with the kind permission of the Trustees of the National Museums & Galleries of Northern Ireland

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Alexander [née Humphreys], Cecil Frances [Fanny] (1818–1895), hymn writer and poet, was born at 25 Eccles Street, Dublin. She was the second daughter of John Humphreys, a second lieutenant in the Royal Marines and later brigade major in the Tyrone yeomanry, and his wife, ...

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Angus, Marion Emily (1865–1946), poet, was born on 27 March 1865 at 23 Park Place West, Sunderland, the third of six children of the Revd Henry Angus (1833–1902) and Mary Jessie Watson. While her father's family background was mainly clerical, Marion Angus's maternal grandfather was a notable social reformer: ...

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Austen [née Wilson], Katherine (b. 1629, d. in or before 1683), diarist and poet, was born in the parish of St Mary Colechurch, London, one of at least seven children of Robert Wilson (d. 1639), draper, and his wife, Katherine (...

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Joanna Baillie (1762–1851) by Sir William John Newton © Copyright The British Museum

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Baillie, Joanna (1762–1851), playwright and poet, was born in the manse of Bothwell, Lanarkshire, on 11 September 1762, the daughter of the Revd James Baillie (c.1722–1778), who had recently been appointed minister at Bothwell, and his wife, Dorothea Hunter (c...

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Baillie, Marianne (1795?–1831), travel writer and versifier, whose maiden name appears to have been Wathen, married before 1817 Alexander Baillie, who printed privately at Kingsbury her first known work, Guy of Warwick, a Legende, and other Poems (1817). This collection of undistinguished verse reached a second edition probably through the indulgence of friends. A period of financial difficulty appears to have followed soon after: in 1818 the ...

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Bannerman, Anne (1765–1829), poet, was born on 31 October 1765 in Edinburgh, the daughter of William Bannerman, and his wife, Isobel Dick. Bannerman was a highly gifted poet, part of the Edinburgh poetic circle that also included John Leyden, Thomas Campbell, and Dr Robert Anderson...

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Anna Letitia Barbauld (1743–1825) by Richard Samuel, 1778 [top left, hand out in gesture Portraits in the Characters of the Muses in the Temple of Apollo] © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Barbauld [née Aikin], Anna Letitia [Anna Laetitia] (1743–1825), poet and essayist, was born on 20 June 1743 at Kibworth Harcourt, Leicestershire, elder child of the Revd John Aikin (1713–1780), schoolmaster, and his wife Jane (1714–1785), daughter of the Revd John Jennings of ...

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Barber, Mary (c. 1685–1755), poet, is of unknown parentage. She married Rupert Barber (d. 1777?), a Dublin woollen draper, and lived in Werburgh Street, Dublin, from at least 1705 to at least 1724. In 1719 her husband acquired rights to property at ...

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Barber [née Bowker], Mary Elizabeth (1818–1899), poet and natural historian, was born at Manor Farm, South Newton, Wiltshire, on 5 January 1818, the ninth child and first daughter of Miles Bowker (1758–1839), woollen manufacturer and sheep farmer of Gateshead, and Anna Maria (...

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Barker, Jane (bap. 1652, d. 1732), poet and novelist, was baptized on 17 May 1652 in Blatherwycke, Northamptonshire, the second of three surviving children of Thomas Barker (d. 1681) and Anne, née Connock (d. 1685?). Thomas, whose family origins are uncertain, may have had a court position during the reign of ...

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Barlow, Jane (1857–1917), poet and writer, was born on 17 April 1857 at Clontarf, Dublin, the eldest daughter of the Revd James William Barlow (d. 1913), later vice-provost of Trinity College, Dublin, and his wife, Mary Louisa (d. 1893/4). Barlow was educated at home and was said to have been '...