Pilkington, Mary (1766–1839)

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Pilkington, Mary (1766–1839)

British writer . Born Mary Hopkins in 1766 in Cambridge, England; died in 1839; daughter of man named Hopkins (a surgeon); married a man named Pilkington (a surgeon), in 1786.

Selected writings:

Obedience Rewarded and Prejudice Conquered (1797); Edward Barnard (1797); Historical Beauties for Young Ladies (1798); Marvellous Adventures (1802); The Disgraceful Effects of Falsehood (1807); Original Poems (1811); Celebrity (1825).

Mary Pilkington was the daughter of a surgeon who died when she was only 15 years old. She then made her home with her grandfather, a cleric, until her marriage in 1786 to the surgeon who had succeeded her father. While her husband was assigned to a position in the navy and was gone for long periods, she spent eight years working as a governess.

After beginning her writing career, Pilkington turned out an astonishing number of educational works, moral tracts, and novels, some of which were translated into French, using the proceeds to help meet living expenses. She was particularly interested in improving the moral character of the young. Little is known about her later life except that she suffered a debilitating illness around 1810 and that she died in 1839.


Concise Dictionary of National Biography, Vol. III. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Kunitz, Stanley J., and Howard Haycraft, eds. British Authors of the Nineteenth Century. NY: H.W. Wilson, 1936.

Sally A. Myers , Ph.D., freelance writer and editor

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