Letters Additional of Maria Edgeworth

Scope and Content

Artificial collection of letters and other papers of and relating to Maria Edgeworth. The collection largely consists of individual letters written by Maria Edgeworth and her correspondents include Sir John Bowring, David Wilkie and Professor William Whewell. The correspondence is mostly of a personal nature and includes letters of recommendation and introduction for family members and friends, letters relating to social engagements and visits. Some letters relate to her writings and others touch on her political interests.

Administrative / Biographical History

Maria Edgeworth, 1767-1849, novelist, was the third daughter of Richard Lovell Edgeworth (1744-1817), inventor, educator and writer. The family lived in Edgeworthstown in County Longford, Ireland where Richard Edgeworth owned an extensive estate and Maria, who was one of 22 children by her father's four wives, was heavily involved in the education of her brothers and sisters. She is an important figure in the history of women's writing and also in the history of education, particularly in the promotion of education of women. Her first works were Letters for Literary Ladies (1795) in which she defended female education and two volumes on Practical Education (1798), written in conjunction with her father. Her first novel, Castle Rackrent , appeared in 1800 and she continued to produce works of fiction, including children's stories, up to 1834 when her last novel, Helen , was published. She is considered to have been a literary influence on a number of other writers including Sir Walter Scott, and Thackeray and Jane Austen is known to have been an admirer of her works.

Reference: Finding aid to The Maria Edgeworth Letters. The Concise Dictionary of National Biography ( Oxford. Oxford University Press, 1992 ). Robert Hogan (ed), Dictionary of Irish Literature, 2nd ed ( London. Greenwood Press. 1996 ). Women, Education and Literature: the papers of Maria Edgeworth 1768-1849. A Listing and Guide to parts 1-3 of the Microfilm Collection ( Adam Matthew Publications Ltd, 2001 ).


The individual documents in this collection are arranged and numbered in a single numerical sequence which reflects the order in which they were acquired. The items in this collection are mounted in a fascicule.

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was acquired in a series of purchases, 1969-1973.

Other Finding Aids

Please see full catalogue for further details.

Alternative Form Available

The Maria Edgeworth Letters Additional collection was micropublished by Adam Matthew Publications in 2001 under the title Women, education and literature: the papers of Maria Edgeworth, 1767-1849 . This micropublication included Edgeworth Papers at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the National Library of Ireland and at other libraries including the University of Birmingham. Microfilms of the two Birmingham collections are available in the Special Collections Department and facilities are available in this Library for researchers to make paper copies of individual items from these microfilms for their own private research purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to make any published use of any material from the collection must be sought in advance in writing from the University Archivist, Special Collections. Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult. Special Collections will assist where possible with identifying copyright owners, but responsibility for ensuring copyright clearance rests with the user of the material.


Further deposits are not expected.

Related Material

University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department holds further letters of Maria Edgeworth in the Maria Edgeworth Letters (GB 150 ME)