Lyell, Mary Horner (1808–1873)

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Lyell, Mary Horner (1808–1873)

British geologist and conchologist. Born Mary Horner in 1808, probably in London, England; died in 1873; eldest of six daughters of Leonard Horner (a geolo-gist); married Charles Lyell (1797–1875, a geologist), in 1832.

Mary Lyell was born in 1808, the daughter of geologist Leonard Horner. In 1832, she married British geologist Charles Lyell, author of the well-known Principles of Geology (1830–33), a work that was used by Charles Darwin (1809–1882) in the formulation of his theory of evolution. Mary Lyell accompanied her husband on expeditions in Europe and North America, and, being fluent in German and French, she frequently translated scientific papers for him. When his eyesight failed, she read to him and handled his correspondence. Serving as an assistant to her husband over the years, Lyell became an accomplished geologist and conchologist in her own right, although, like the wives of so many prominent men, she never received the credit due that fact.