Finding Number (Click this to view full catalogue structure)ME
TitleMaria Edgeworth Letters
Extent1 volume
DescriptionA small collection of letters from Maria Edgeworth to family friends, John Lewis Moilliet, a businessman and banker, based in Birmingham and his wife Amelia nee Keir. Maria's letter were mostly written from the family home at Edgeworth's Town or from Black Castle in Ireland. The collection includes one letter to John Lewis Moilliet from Maria's brother Charles Sneyd Edgeworth. The Moilliets lived at at Smethwick Grove from 1813 until 1826 when they moved to Hamstead Hall in Handsworth. Maria's letters are for the most part addressed to the Moilliets family homes although a few, which relate to business affairs, were sent to Moilliet's business premises in New Hall Street, Birmingham. The Moilliet family also owned the Chateau de L'Imperatrice in Pregny near Geneva. The letters generally appear to be prompted by Maria's business and financial interests in which respect Moilliet is obviously a close confidante but she also writes about her family matters, her social activities and their mutual friends. These letters offer an insight into the life of a wealthy, well connected, single woman in Ireland in the early nineteenth century particularly in terms of her business and financial interests. She writes candidly about her own and her family's financial affairs giving interesting details regarding the amount of money she has in investments, the performance of shares, income from her writing and even the wage paid to a man servant. In these letters Maria Edgeworth shows herself to be a strong minded independent woman determined always to be in control of her own affairs. Her references to Irish economic and political issues of the time make these letters a useful resource for historians of Anglo-Irish affairs.
ArrangementThe correspondence is arranged chronologically and bound in one volume.
Access ConditionsAccess to all registered researchers
Finding AidsA catalogue of this collection is available on the online archive catalogue. Click on the Finding Number to display the summary contents list of the catalogue and to view the full catalogue, or view the catalogue as a PDF file by clicking in the document field below. A paper catalogue is also available for consultation in the Cadbury Research Library: Special Collections Department.
Access StatusOpen
Administrative HistoryMaria Edgeworth, 1767/8-1849, 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 twenty two children by her father's four wives, was heavily involved in the education of her brothers and sisters. In later years she also helped to manage the family estate in Ireland and the business affairs of her brothers Charles Sneyd (1790-1864) and Francis Edgeworth (1809-1846). In her own right, she was 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.

References: 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)
CopiesAvailable on microfilm and online. Also copies on the Cadbury Research Library staff R drive.

The collection was micropublished by Adam Matthew Publications in 2001 under the title 'Women, Education and Literature: the papers of Maria Edgeworth, 1767-1849'. As well as this and another collection held in the Cadbury Research Library, the micropublication includes Edgeworth Papers held at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, the National Library of Ireland and elsewhere. The microfilm of the University of Birmingham's collections can be consulted in the Cadbury Research Library.

The microfilm has since been digitally published by Adam Matthew Digital Ltd so the collection can also be seen online by members of, and visitors to, the Cadbury Research Library and other institutions that subscribe to 'Research Source - Women's Studies'.

All visitors who have registered for a Cadbury Research Library Reader ticket can access the online copies on the public access computers in the Cadbury Research Library Reading Room.

Staff and students of the University of Birmingham may also access the products when off campus through the University’s eResources. Log in through FindIt@Bham, select Database Search and enter ‘Women’s Studies’.

For institutions that do not currently subscribe to this Adam Matthew Digital product, free four-week trials of Adam Matthew Digital products are open to teachers, faculty and librarians of universities, colleges, and academic institutions. Further information about trial access is available at
Related MaterialUniversity of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department also holds an artificial collection of Maria Edgeworth Letters Additional (MELAdd)


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