Brown, Susan, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, eds. Mary Frances Billington entry: Overview screen within Orlando: Women's Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Online, 2006. <http://orlando.cambridge.org/>. 03 December 2021.
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Writing and Life
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Mary Frances Billington established her reputation as a journalist by holding a number of prominent posts on English newspapers and reporting on major social concerns and events, roles that were typically unavailable to women at the turn of the twentieth century. Her ethnographic study of women's lives in India, Woman in India, 1895, critiques Western preconceptions about Indian women's everyday lives and struggles. She devoted much of her later life to furthering the status of women journalists and serving in an important editorial capacity for the Daily Telegraph. Her two collections of writing published during the First World War offer some of the period's most comprehensive accounts of women's contributions to the war effort.
6 September 1862 MFB was born in her father's parish, at Chalbury Rectory in Chalbury, Dorset, the only girl in a family of four. Bibliographic Citation link.
May 1883 MFB was a contributor to the first issue of Merry England, an illustrated literary monthly magazine launched in London by Alice and Wilfrid Meynell and sold for one shilling. Bibliographic Citation link.
30 November 1894 MFB published Woman in India, a collection of twenty-eight articles which had initially appeared in the Daily Graphic, the fruit of her research on the subcontinent. The title-page was dated 1895. Bibliographic Citation link.
1915 MFB published her final work, a second collection of articles on women and their role in the First World War, The Roll-Call of Serving Women: A Record of Woman's Work for Combatants and Sufferers in the Great War. Bibliographic Citation link.
27 August 1925 MFB died at her home in London of unspecified causes at the age of sixty-three. Bibliographic Citation link.
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