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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (née Stevenson) (1810-1865), Novelist, short-story writer and biographer of Charlotte Brontë
Sitter in 4 portraits
Brought up in the Unitarian faith, a Christian religion that encouraged a belief in social duty and reform, Elizabeth Stevenson married William Gaskell, a Unitarian minister, in March 1832. They settled in Manchester. The city provided the inspiration for her first novel, Mary Barton, published in 1847. A lively and engaging personality, she wrote about challenging topics with an open mind, undeterred by the controversy they caused. The mother of four surviving daughters, she died suddenly of a heart attack in 1865, with the manuscript for Wives and Daughters still unfinished.