Martineau, Harriet

Variant names

Hide Profile

Epithet: of Add MS 39948

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001301.0x000295

Epithet: of Add MS 44439

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001301.0x000297

Epithet: writer and reformer

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000210.0x000116

Epithet: of Add MS 31978

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001301.0x000272

Epithet: of Add MS 40166

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001301.0x000296

Epithet: of Add MS 38111

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000001301.0x000294

Harriet Martineau (1802-1876) was a political economist, author, journalist, social commentator and leading feminist intellectual. She published widely and her publications included popular works on economics, several novels, and various children's stories. She was also a regular contributor to and editorial writer for the Daily News and Edinburgh Review .

She was born in Norwich in 1802, the fifth child of Thomas Martineau and Elizabeth Rankin Martineau. She began her literary career at a young age and her first article on Female Writers on Practical Divinity appeared in the Unitarian periodical, The Monthly Repository in 1821. Her first major successful work was Illustrations of Political Economy (1832-34), which was quickly followed by Poor Law and Paupers Illustrated (1833), and Illustrations of Taxation (1834). She visited America between 1834 and 1836 and on her return wrote Society in America (1837) and Retrospect of Western Travel (1838). She continued to travel, visiting Italy, Egypt and Palestine, after which she published Eastern Life (1848). Later publications included History of England during the Thirty Years' Peace (1849) and a translation of Comte's Philosophie Positive (1853). She lived initially in London then moved to Tynemouth near Newcastle to be near her brother. She spent four years there during a period of ill-health but from the 1840s lived at Ambleside in the Lake District in a house she designed herself.

Harriet Martineau was an exceptional correspondent throughout her life and exchanged letters not just with publishers but also with political, literary and other prominent individuals of the time. She suffered from ill health for many years and also had impaired hearing. During her later life she was cared for by her nieces, most notably Maria Martineau. She suffered from ill-health for many years and was also profoundly deaf.

Reference: Women, Emancipation and Literature. The Papers of Harriet Martineau 1802-1876 from Birmingham University Library. A Listing and Guide to the Microfilm Collection (Adam Matthew Publications, 1991). ; Janet Todd (ed), Dictionary of British Women Writers (Routledge 1989). ; Dictionary of National Biography (Vol XII, London 1909).

From the guide to the Harriet Martineau Papers, 1816-1885, (University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn GROTE PAPERSPAPERS OF GEORGE GROTE, the historian of Greece, and Harriet, formerly Lewin, his wife, viz.:-(1) Two letters from George Grote to Joseph Parkes of Birmingham on political matters ( the second lacks a beginning ). An extract from ff. 1 -..., 1831-1878 British Library
referencedIn LETTERS OF OR CONCERNING HARRIET MARTINEAU(1802-1876),author, addressed to George Jacob Holyoake, the rationalist; 1851-1877, n.d. Her own letters (thirteen) relate mainly to her activities as a writer. The writers of the other letters are her nieces..., 1851-1877 British Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCCV (ff. 434). 13-28 Feb.-1846.includes:f. 1 R-Adderley, of Chelsea: Letter to Sir R. Peel: 1846.f. 3 Captain Henry George Boyce: Letter to Sir R. Peel.: 1846.f. 5 Henry Braddel, Irish landowner: Letter to Sir R. Peel: 1846.f. 7 John... British Library
creatorOf Harriet Martineau Papers, 1816-1885 University of Birmingham Information Services, Special Collections Department
referencedIn 40166. MISCELLANEOUS FRAGMENTS, LETTERS AND PAPERS., 1100-1902 British Library
referencedIn Papers, 1828-1919 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf DEXTER DICKENS COLLECTION. Vol. IV (ff. 88). Miscellaneous correspondence and papers of literary men and artists, including Charles Dickens; 1829-1903, n.d. The items are arranged in groups in alphabetical order of writer or main correspondent. For a..., 1829-1904 British Library
referencedIn Houghton Library. Houghton Library printed book provenance file, L-Q. 1942. Houghton Library
referencedIn BRIGHT PAPERS. Vol. VII (ff. 383). General correspondence of John Bright, 1845-1887; followed (ff. 378-383) by letters to his son John Albert (1904) and daughter-in-law (1925).includes:ff. 1-5 Harriet Martineau, writer and reformer: Letters to J. B..., 1845-1925 British Library
creatorOf Vol. II (ff. 204). H -O.includes:f. 1 Charles Montagu, 1st Earl of Halifax: Treasury warrant authorised by: 1698: Signed. f. 2 Charles Wood, 1st Viscount Halifax: Letter to A. Panizzi: 1857. f. 3 Henry Hallam, historian: Letter to A. Panizzi: circ... British Library
referencedIn NIGHTINGALE PAPERS. Vol. L (ff. 321). Correspondence with Harriet Martineau; 1858-1871.Harriet Martineau, writer and reformer: Correspondence with Florence Nightingale: 1858-1871.includes:f. 231 Maria Martineau, niece of Harriet Martineau: Letter t..., 1858-1871 British Library
referencedIn Vol. I (ff. 187). General correspondence of W. Huskisson, etc., 1799-1887. The names of writers are given in the Index.William Huskisson, statesman: Supplementary official and private correspondence and papers, etc.: 1799-1887.includes:ff. 1, 3, 5, 2..., 1799-1887 British Library
referencedIn Correspondence of Leigh Hunt; 1807-1859. Paper; ff.451.Charles Ollier, publisher: Letters to Leigh Hunt: 1815-1858, n.d.includes:f. 1 Harriet Martineau: Letter to Leigh Hunt: 1851. ff. 4, 143, 187, 232, 234, 260, 313, 337, 378, 383 George Lillie Cra..., 1807-1859 British Library
referencedIn LETTERS to Rowland [afterwards Sir Rowland] Hill, relating to the introduction of the Penny Postage and other postal matters; 1837-1857. The names of the writers will be found in the index. At the end, f. 322, is added a letter from the Rt. Honble. W... British Library
creatorOf LETTERS, ETC., TO SIR EDWARD BURNETT TYLOR, Professor of Anthropology, Oxford, and others, with other papers; 1861-1906, n.d. Preceded (f. 1) by a copy of a letter of George Rolleston, Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, Oxford, to his sister, Rosam..., 1861-1906 British Library
creatorOf CHARNWOOD AUTOGRAPHS. Vol. II. English literary autographs; circa 16th-20th cent. Included are Edmund Waller, Andrew Marvell, John Evelyn, John Locke, John Dryden, Joseph Addison, Jonathan Swift, Alexander Pope, William Congreve, Sir Richard Steele, ..., approximately 16th century-20th century British Library
creatorOf Hallam Papers. Vol. i (ff. 107). Papers of Henry Hallam; [1798]-1850, n.d. Among the following letters, those dated 1833 relate to the death on 15 September 1833 of Henry Hallam’s son, Arthur Henry Hallam. Those dated 1834 relate to the publication..., 1798-1850 British Library
referencedIn Abigail Adams collection of Victorian autographs, 1837-1864. Houghton Library
referencedIn MISCELLANE0US LETTERS AND PAPERS, viz ' '-A. Letters of distinguished persons, addressed, except where otherwise stated, to Frederick James Furnivall; 6 May 1851-3 June 1876, n.d. For a similar group of letters see Add. MS. 34813, ff. 24-30, and cf...., 17th century-19th century British Library
referencedIn Vol. CCCLIV (ff. 330). June-Aug. 1873.includes:f. 1 Edward George Barnard: Letter to W. E. Gladstone: 1873.f. 6 Edward Robert Lytton Bulwer-Lytton, 1st Earl of Lytton: Letters to W. E. Gladstone: 1862-1889.f. 8 James Martineau, brother of Harr... British Library
referencedIn Ripley, Sarah Alden, 1793-1867. Papers, 1806-1867 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf LOVETT ALBUMS AND PAPERS. VOL. I. (ff. i+401). Album of letters, mainly to Lovett; 1828-1876, n.d. The pasted-in letters are enclosed in hand-drawn frames containing Lovett’s own identifications of the authors. Missing some of the original number..., 1828-1876 British Library
creatorOf Senior / Hughes Correspondence. Letters received by Nassau William Senior, political economist (b. 1790, d. 1864), his daughter-in-law Jane, née Hughes, school inspector (b. 1828, d. 1877), and other members of the Senior and Hughes families; 1812-1..., 1812-1896 British Library
referencedIn AUTOGRAPH LETTERS. from eminent persons, including Matthew Arnold, John Bright, Cardinal Manning, etc., chiefly addressed to William Tallack, Secretary of the Howard Association, author of Penological and Preventive Principles and other works. The le..., 1830-1901 British Library
referencedIn Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866. Jared Sparks collection of American manuscripts, 1582-1843 Houghton Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Adams, Abigail, 1808-1899 person
correspondedWith ELLIS GRAY LORING FAMILY family
associatedWith Houghton Library. person
associatedWith Martineau Harriet 1802-1876 person
correspondedWith SARAH ALDEN RIPLEY person
associatedWith Sparks, Jared, 1789-1866 person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Hythe, Kent
Ireland, Europe
China, Asia
Kirton, Suffolk
Bristol, Gloucestershire
Brenzett, Kent
India, Asia
Nevis, West Indies
Ennis, Clare
France, Europe
Victoria, Australia
Bradford, West Riding of Yorkshire
Bonneval, Eure-et-Loire
Manchester, Lancashire
Ross-shire, Scotland
Uruguay, South America
Ireland, Europe
London, England
Tynemouth, Northumberland
Liverpool, Lancashire
Oudewater, the Netherlands
Manchester, Lancashire
Argentine Confederation, South America
Leicestershire, England
Florence, Italy


Active 1807

Active 1901



Ark ID: w6x1615g

SNAC ID: 21969468