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Finding Aid to the Hannah More Collection MS.1997.009
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Letters written to and from writer and social reformer Hannah More, as well as other manuscript and visual materials relating to the lives of More and her contemporaries.
Hannah More was born near Bristol, England, on February 2, 1745, the daughter of Jacob and Mary More. Jacob More was a school master who educated his five daughters, Mary, Elizabeth, Sarah (Sally), Hannah and Martha (Patty). Hannah proved to be a bright and able pupil. Hannah’s elder sisters made an independent living by establishing a successful boarding school for young ladies, and Hannah joined them around the age of 16. At the school, Hannah, who had shown her literary ability from a young age, wrote poems and plays, in addition to translations of classical works. Hannah gave up her share in the school at the age of 22, when she became engaged to John Turner, a wealthy landowner twenty years her senior. The wedding was set on three different occasions, all of which were cancelled by Mr. Turner. After six years, the engagement was broken off, and Mr. Turner settled an annuity on Hannah, against her will and knowledge. However, Hannah finally accepted the offer, which provided her an independent living, and allowed her to devote her time to her literary pursuits. Around 1774, Hannah left for London, where she was introduced to some of the most influential and prominent literary and political figures of the time. Hannah became close friends with the actor David Garrick and his wife Eva, and attended social assemblies with such figures as Dr. Samuel Johnson and Sir Joshua Reynolds. Hannah also moved among members of the Bluestocking Circle. While in London, Hannah’s literary career flourished, but after the death of her friend Garrick, she vowed never to write for the stage again, and instead devoted herself to moral and spiritual works. She moved to Cowslip Green, Wrington, Bristol in 1785. Hannah became involved in social reform, including the anti-slavery movement. At the urging of her friend William Wilberforce, Hannah founded several Sunday schools for the poor, though she was initially met with opposition. In 1802, Hannah moved to Barley Wood, a home she had built not far from Cowslip Green. There she and her sisters lived quietly, and Hannah entertained prominent friends and continued her writing. Her most popular work, “Coeleb’s in Search of a Wife,” was published in 1809. Hannah continued pushing for social reform by publishing the Cheap Repository Tracts. These tracts sold for a halfpenny, and were aimed at providing the poor with strong tales of morality. The tracts were extremely popular and widely dispersed. Hannah outlived her sisters and retired to Clifton in 1828. She continued entertaining guests and was always surrounded by friends and visitors. Hannah left her fortune to charity, and was buried in Wrington. Her prolific literary career, her good sense and strong morals, and her dedication to social reform earned her a place among the most notable and influential figures of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
3.0 Linear feet (5 boxes)
Copyright has not been assigned to the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Clark Librarian. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
Collection is open for research.