Mary Martha Sherwood
Mary Martha Sherwood was a writer of children’s literature in 19th-century Britain. She composed over 400 books, tracts, magazine articles, and chapbooks. Her books were initially intended only for the children of the military encampments in India, but the British public also received them enthusiastically.
About Mary Martha Sherwood in brief
Mary Martha Sherwood was a writer of children’s literature in 19th-century Britain. She composed over 400 books, tracts, magazine articles, and chapbooks. Sherwood is known primarily for the strong evangelicalism that coloured her early writings. Her later works are characterized by common Victorian themes, such as domesticity. Her depictions of domesticity and Britain’s relationship with India may have played a part in shaping the opinions of many young British readers. Many of Sherwood’s books were bestsellers and she has been described as ‘one of the most significant authors of children’s literature of the nineteenth century’ She was born on 6 May 1775 in Stanford-on-Teme, Worcestershire, as the eldest daughter and second child of Martha Butt and Reverend George Butt, the chaplain in ordinary to George III. She married Captain Henry Sherwood and moved to India, where she converted to evangelical Christianity and began to write for children. Her books were initially intended only for the children of the military encampments in India, but the British public also received them enthusiastically. The Sherwoods returned to England after a decade in India and, building upon her popularity, Sherwood opened a boarding school and published scores of texts for children and the poor. For several years, she accompanied her husband and his regiment, the 53rd Foot, on postings throughout Britain. On 30 June 1803, she became an wife by marrying her cousin, Captain HenrySherwood.
In 1804, she wrote The History of Susan Grey-like, a novel, a Pamela-like novel, for £10, like Pamela Grey. She died in Shropshire in 1813, and was succeeded by her son, William Sherwood Bridgnorth Sherwood, who died in 1827. She is survived by her daughter, Lucy Lyttelton, and her two sons, William and George Sherwood. She was married to Captain Sherwood until her death in 1828, when her husband died of a heart attack. She also had a daughter, Mary Martha, who was born in 1831. She wrote her first story, Traditions, when she was 17. When she was seventeen her father encouraged her writing and helped her publish her first book, Tradition, which was published in 1795. In 1795, her father retired from his active social life and moved his family to Shroppedworth. She later sold her novels; she sold Margarita for £40 in 1802. She went on to write The History Of The Fairchild Family, a sentimental novel about a family of fair-haired children. In her autobiography, she describes her childhood as a delightful time filled with exciting adventures undertaken with her brother. She describes how she hid in the woods with her doll to escape visitors. She attended Madame St. Quentin’s School for Girls at Reading Abbey, run by French émigrés and was the same school Jane Austen had attended. Her education was wide-ranging for girls during the late eighteenth century.