Maria Edgeworth Letters

Scope and Content

Letters mainly to J.M.Molliot, the Birmingham banker, 1820-1837 relating to financial and family matters.

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 letters are arranged chronologically

Access Information

Open. Access to all registered researchers.

Acquisition Information

This collection was purchased in 1970

Other Finding Aids

Please see online catalogue for further information

Alternative Form Available

The Maria Edgeworth Letters were micropublished by Adam Matthew Publications in 1998.

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 Identification of copyright holders of unpublished material is often difficult.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 Additional collection (GB 150 MELAdd)