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Samuel Smiles (1812-1904), Social reformer; author of 'Self Help'

Later Victorian Portraits Catalogue

Sitter in 4 portraits
Smiles studied medicine in Edinburgh, during which time he became involved in the campaign for parliamentary reform, contributing articles on the subject to the Edinburgh Weekly Chronicle and the Leeds Times. In 1838, he became the editor of the Leeds Times, a position he held until being appointed secretary first to the Leeds and Thirsk Railway and then the South Eastern Railway. Smiles is best remembered as the writer of books extolling virtues of self-help, and biographies of 'heroic' engineers. He selected the topics of his biographies as a means of emphasising his thesis of self-help, and many of them were contained in his four-volume Lives of the Engineers (1862).

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Samuel Smiles

by Louise Jane Jopling (née Goode, later Rowe)
pastel, 1887
NPG 1856


Samuel Smiles

by Samuel Alexander Walker
albumen carte-de-visite, late 1860s
NPG x22628


Samuel Smiles ('Men of the Day. No. 252.'))

by Sir Leslie Ward
chromolithograph, published in Vanity Fair 14 January 1882
NPG D44050