Mrs. Markham - Encyclopedia

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MRS MARKHAM, the pseudonym of Elizabeth Penrose (1780-1837), English writer, daughter of Edmund Cartwright the inventor of the power-loom. She was born at her father's rectory at Goadby Marwood, Leicestershire, on the 3rd of August 1780. In 1804 she married the Rev. John Penrose, a country clergyman in Lincolnshire and a voluminous theological writer. During her girlhood Mrs Penrose had frequently stayed with relatives at Markham, a village in Nottinghamshire, and from this place she took the nom de plume of "Mrs Markham," under which she gained celebrity as a writer of history and other books for the young. The best known of her books was A History of England from the First Invasion by the Romans to the End of the Reign of George III. (1823), which went through numerous editions. In 1828 she published a History of France. Both these works enjoyed a wide popularity in America as well as in England. The distinctive characteristic of "Mrs Markham's" histories was the elimination of all the "horrors" of history, and of the complications of modern party politics, as being unsuitable for the youthful mind; and the addition to each chapter of "Conversations" between a fictitious group consisting of teacher and pupils bearing upon the subject matter. Her less well-known works were Amusements of Westernheath, or Moral Stories for Children (2 vols., 1824); A Visit to the Zoological Gardens (1829); two volumes of stories entitled The New Children's Friend (1832); Historical Conversations for Young People (1836); Sermons for Children (1837). Mrs Markham died at Lincoln on the 24th of January 1837.

See Samuel Smiles, A Publisher and his Friends (2 vols., London, 1891); G. C. Boase and W. P. Courtney, Bibliotheca Cornubiensis (3 vols., London, 1874-1882).

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