The Maid and the Minister’s Wife: Literary Philanthropy in Regency York
This story has two main characters. The first is a domestic servant called Charlotte Richardson, who had two volumes of poetry published by subscription, Poems Written on Different Occasions (1806) and Poems Chiefly Composed During the Pressure of Severe Illness (1809).1 Both of these volumes sold well and went into more than one edition. Richardson had been educated at a charity school in York, before becoming a maid-of-all-work and then a kitchen-maid. These were generally considered to be among the lowest occupations available within domestic service.2 The money that Richardson made from publication allowed her, after initial difficulties, to establish herself as a schoolteacher. She died in 1825, and the short obituary notice in The Yorkshire Gazette on 1 October claimed that she was still well known locally ‘for her genius and talents’.
KeywordsSevere Illness Domestic Servant Female Inmate Woman Writer Civic Duty
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