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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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Allan, Eliza MacNaughton Luke [Dot] (1886–1964), novelist, was born on 13 May 1886 at Headswood House, Denny, Stirlingshire, the only child of Alexander Allan, iron merchant, and his wife, Jean, daughter of John Luke, founder of the Vale paper works in Denny. She was educated privately and attended classes at ...

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Jean Armour (1765–1834) by J. A. Gilfillan, 1822 Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Armour, Jean (1765–1834), wife of Robert Burns and subject of poetry, was born in Mauchline, Ayrshire, on 25 February 1765, the second of the eleven children of James Armour and his wife, Mary Smith. The family lived in Mauchline's Cowgate. James Armour was a master mason whose work included ...

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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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Margaret Montgomerie Boswell (1738?–1789) by unknown artist © reserved

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Boswell, Margaret Montgomerie [Peggie] (1738?–1789), wife of James Boswell, was born at Lainshaw, Ayrshire, the fourth of five children of David Montgomerie, formerly Laing (d. 1752), of co. Down, and Veronica Boswell (b. 1704, d. before 1753), daughter of James Boswell, ...

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Brook [née Brotherton], Mary (c. 1726–1782), writer, was born at Woodstock, Oxfordshire, the daughter of William and Mary Brotherton. The Quaker 'Testimonies' mentions that although her father was a member of the Church of England, Mary was raised a strict Presbyterian under the auspices of an aunt in ...

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Browne, Frances (1816–1879), writer, was born on 16 January 1816 in Stranorlar, co. Donegal, the seventh of twelve children of Samuel Brown, the village postmaster. She lost her sight following smallpox at the age of eighteen months. The family was Presbyterian, and her conscious effort to acquire an education began at the age of six, when she heard a sermon she could not understand. From that time she adopted a plan for acquiring information through asking the meaning of every new word she heard. She also learned by listening to her siblings repeating their lessons. She had a thirst for facts and a tenacious memory, and bribed members of her family to read '...

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Brunton [née Balfour], Mary (1778–1818), novelist, was born on 1 November 1778 on Burray, one of the Orkney Islands, the daughter of Colonel Thomas Balfour (1752–1799) of Elwick and his wife, Frances Ligonier, who was the daughter of Colonel Francis Ligonier of the ...

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Buchan, Anna Masterton [pseud. O. Douglas] (1877–1948), author, was born in Fife, at Inglewood, Smeaton Road, Pathhead, Kirkcaldy, on 24 March 1877, the elder of two daughters and second of six children of John Buchan (1847–1911), minister of the Free Church of Scotland...

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Margaret Calderwood (1715–1774) by Allan Ramsay, 1734–5 in the collection of the Dundas-Bekker Family; photograph courtesy the Scottish National Portrait Gallery

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Calderwood [née Steuart], Margaret (1715–1774), diarist and traveller, was the eldest daughter of Sir James Steuart of Goodtrees and Coltness, baronet (1681–1727), solicitor-general for Scotland, whose father was Sir James Stewart of Goodtrees (1635–1713), and his wife, Anne (d. 1736), daughter of ...

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Francis Russell Hart and Lorena Laing Hart

Cameron, Elizabeth Jane [pseud. Jane Duncan] (1910–1976), novelist, was born on 10 March 1910 in Renton, Dunbartonshire, the first of three children of Duncan Cameron (1878–1951), policeman, and Jessie Sandison (1882–1920), later called Janet. Her childhood was spent near Glasgow, her holidays at her grandparents' ...

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Campbell [married names Anderson, Telfer], Agnes (1637–1716), printer and book merchant, was born in Edinburgh in August 1637 and baptized there on 1 September 1637, the third daughter of James Campbell, a merchant of Edinburgh, formerly from Cumnock in Ayrshire, and ...

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Kenneth Fielding and David Sorensen

Carlyle, Jane Baillie Welsh (1801–1866), letter writer, was born on 14 July 1801 in Haddington, Scotland, the only child of Dr John Welsh (1776–1819) and Grace, or Grizel, née Welsh (1782–1842). She was named Jane Baillie after her grandmother. Her parents were Scottish. Her father romantically claimed descent from ...

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Carnegie [née Scott], Susan (1743–1821), writer and benefactor, was born on 7 August 1743 in Edinburgh, the daughter of David Scott of Benholm (1700–1768), director and treasurer of the Bank of Scotland, and Mary Brown (1712–1794). She was tutored at home and gained a wide and deep knowledge of French and Italian literature and of philosophy, a proficiency in drawing (which she was taught by a relative ...

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Carswell [née Macfarlane], Catherine Roxburgh (1879–1946), novelist and book reviewer, was born on 27 March 1879 at 101 Hill Street, Garnethill, Glasgow, the second of the four children of George Gray Macfarlane (d. 1899), and his wife, Mary Anne Elizabeth (...

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Clark [née Carswell], Elizabeth Thomson [pseud. Joan Ure] (1918–1978), writer, was born on 22 June 1918 at 31 Fenham Road, Wallsend, near Newcastle upon Tyne, of Scottish parents, John MacFie Carswell and Janet (Jenny) Love Thomson. Her father was an engineering draughtsman for ...