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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Mary Lamb

b. 1764, London; d. 1847, London

Mary Lamb, a children’s writer plagued by mental illness, was forced to give up her education to help support her parents and brothers. In 1796, under the strain of caring for a senile father, a bedridden mother, and supporting the family with her needlework, Mary suffered a mental breakdown and killed her mother. She was placed under the supervision of her brother Charles Lamb, a successful writer. The two collaborated on writing many children’s books, including the acclaimed Tales from Shakespear (1807), for which Mary Lamb is now given the principal credit. They also wrote Mrs. Leicester’s School and Poetry for Children, Entirely Original, both of which were published anonymously in 1809.