Mary Barber

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MB is a domestic, small-scale, early eighteenth-century poet of charm and intelligence (remembered particularly for her writing about her children), but also an incisive, often satirical commentator on social and gender issues. Her single collection of poems was preceded by a number of separately-published pieces, mostly anonymous, not all specifically mentioned here.

Milestones

Probably about 1685
The future MB was born.
If Patrick Delany was right when he thought her fifty, her birth was more like 1681;
Isdell-Carpenter, Andrew. “On a manuscript of poems catalogued as by Mary Barber in the Library of TCD”. Hermathena, pp. 54 -64.
56-7
but in eighteenth-century thinking fifty, for a woman, was almost the next stage after thirty.
Pilkington, Laetitia. Memoirs of Laetitia Pilkington. Elias, A. C.Editor , University of Georgia Press, 1997.
391-2
20 August 1733
Swift dated his dedication of MB 's Poems, written on her behalf, to Lord Orrery .
Barber, Mary, Jonathan Swift, and Constantia Grierson. Poems on Several Occasions. C. Rivington, 1734.
iii-vii
17 May 1735
MB 's Poems on Several Occasions were entered to her name in the Stationers' Register ; the date of 1734 on title-pages in the first issue of the quarto edition for subscribers seems therefore to be inaccurate, the result of over-optimism.
Foxon, David F. English Verse 1701-1750. Cambridge University Press, 1975.
1: 45
Budd, Adam. “’Merit in Distress’: The Troubled Success of Mary Barber”. Review of English Studies, pp. 204 - 27.
213
March 1737
The Gentleman's Magazine printed MB 's To a Friend desiring an Account of [my] Health in Verse, which pulls no punches about her sufferings from gout.
Budd, Adam. “’Merit in Distress’: The Troubled Success of Mary Barber”. Review of English Studies, pp. 204 - 27.
221
By 14 June 1755
MB died in Dublin: the Dublin Journal reported her death on this date.
Her death-date has often been given as 1757.
Elias, A. C. “Editing Minor Writers: The Case of Laetitia Pilkington and Mary Barber”. 1659-1850 Ideas, Aesthetics, and Inquiries in the Early Modern Era, pp. 129 - 47.
145

Biography

Birth and Background

Probably about 1685
The future MB was born.
If Patrick Delany was right when he thought her fifty, her birth was more like 1681;
Isdell-Carpenter, Andrew. “On a manuscript of poems catalogued as by Mary Barber in the Library of TCD”. Hermathena, pp. 54 -64.
56-7
but in eighteenth-century thinking fifty, for a woman, was almost the next stage after thirty.
Pilkington, Laetitia. Memoirs of Laetitia Pilkington. Elias, A. C.Editor , University of Georgia Press, 1997.
391-2