Hannah More (2 February, 1745 – 7 September, 1833) was a religious writer, poet, and playwright from England.
Fun Facts about Hannah More:
- Hannah More was born in Stapleton, a town near Bristol. She was the fourth of five daughters born to a schoolmaster who left the Presbyterians to join the Church of England.
- Her father, Jacob, educated his five daughters in Latin and math. Ms. More’s older sisters also taught her French. She improved her language skills by talking with French POWs during the Seven Years’ War.
- Jacob More established a girls’ boarding school in Bristol. Mary and Elizabeth, Hannah’s older sisters ran the school while she was admitted as a student. That same year, 1758, Jacob and his wife opened a boys’ school in Stony Hill after they moved there.
- While teaching, Ms. More wrote her first plays, which were written for young ladies to act. She ran in London’s circle of literary elites like Samuel Johnson, Frances Boscawen, Edmund Burke, and Elizabeth Montagu among others.
- Hannah More met William Turner when he began teaching her cousins. The two were engaged in 1767 and Ms. More gave up her share of the school. However, after six years Turner still didn’t have a date for the wedding and the six-year engagement was broken off. This led to a nervous breakdown by the ex-bride. She did, however, accept a £200 payment (about $8,500 today) per year from Turner as compensation.
- In 1787 Hannah More met abolitionist William Wilberforce. The two shared the same views on the slave trade and she contributed a poem Slavery to his campaign.
- Wilberforce also encouraged Ms. More to set up a school in Cheddar for poor children. The More sisters set up similar schools throughout villages in Mendip District, as well as evening classes for adults and women friendly clubs.
- In 1792, Hannah More wrote Village Politics, under the nom-de-plum Will Chip, as a rebuttal against Rights of Man by Thomas Paine. This led to a series called Cheap Repository Tracts that was published three times a month for three years and sold for a penny each. The tracts advised the poor on morality and trust in G-d. Enormously successful, the sold two million copies the first year.
- Both Hannah More and William Wilberforce lived just long enough to see slavery abolished in the British Empire.
- Hannah More left a legacy as an educator, and several schools are named after her. A local currency, the Bristol Pound, features Ms. More, and a street is named after her.
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