Women’s Writing in the British Isles from the Beginnings to the Present
Standard Name: Somerville, Mary
Birth Name: Mary Fairfax
Married Name: Mary Greig
Married Name: Mary Somerville
Eminent Scottish mathematician and scientist MS
was best known as the author of four popular expository texts on science: Mechanism of the Heavens (1831), On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences (1834), Physical Geography (1848), and On Molecular and Microscopic Science (1869). She also published the results of three of her experiments, an article on Halley's comet, and an autobiography.
"Mary Somerville" Retrieved from https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:PSM_V25_D008_Mary_Somerville.jpg.This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.
's mother was born Frances (Fanny) Smith
, the daughter of abolitionist and member of parliament William Smith
. Fanny's grandfather was a wealthy London merchant. One of Fanny's acquaintances was Mary Somerville
Nightingale, Florence. Ever Yours, Florence Nightingale. Editors Vicinus, Martha and Bea Nergaard, Harvard University Press, 1990.
Family and Intimate relationships
Frances Power Cobbe
Lloyd was the daughter of the squire of Rhagatt in Merionethshire, Wales; a maiden aunt in the family had been a friend of the Ladies of Llangollen (Eleanor Butler
and Sarah Ponsonby
Partly through her membership of the Kensington Society
(a social and political discussion group of about fifty women inaugurated in 1865), JB
broadened her acquaintance with significant members of the feminist movement, including Frances Power Cobbe
Henry Peter, Baron Brougham
Brougham had a number of friends among women writers. He was at primary school in Edinburgh with Susan Ferrier
(who, however, declined to acknowledge him later, probably for political reasons). His political work brought him...
Marcet, Jane. “Introduction”. Chemistry in the Schoolroom: 1806, edited by Hazel Rossotti, AuthorHouse, 2006, p. i - xxi.
iii, v n6
Augusta Ada Byron
became friendly with and sought mathematical guidance from Mary Somerville
Patterson, Elizabeth Chambers. Mary Somerville and the Cultivation of Science, 1815-1840. Martinus Nijhoff, 1983.
's social circle vastly expanded at this time until she knew virtually all the prominent people, particularly the political men, of her day. As she recorded in her Autobiography, however, she refused to...
Dering, Edward Heneage, and Georgiana Chatterton. Memoirs of Georgiana, Lady Chatterton. Hurst and Blackett, 1878.
Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford, 1990.
Cobbe, Frances Power. Life of Frances Power Cobbe. Houghton, Mifflin, 1894.
2: 346-9, 358
While in Florence, she met Mary Somerville
, the mathematician and astronomer.
Rigby, Elizabeth. Journals and Correspondence of Lady Eastlake. Editor Smith, Charles Eastlake, AMS Press, 1975.
Frances Power Cobbe
During her 1860 sojourn in Italy she declined an invitation to meet George Eliot
because the latter was living with a married man. Her friendship with distinguished scientist Mary Somerville
blossomed during this trip, and...
Among her many social engagements, she attended a house-party at the home of Whig MP and agriculturalist Sir John Sebright
, whose guests included Dr Wollaston
and the science-writers Jane Marcet
and Mary Somerville
On the other hand she was fully appreciative of Maria Edgeworth
, whom she first met on 16 May 1813. She sounded a little patronising about Edgeworth after this first meeting, but felt an immediate...
(a well qualified judge) thought few people have so many friends as EF
, and that they all warmly esteemed as well as loving her.
Baillie, Joanna. The Collected Letters of Joanna Baillie. Editor Slagle, Judith Bailey, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1999.
At first meeting, Fletcher did not...
11 October 1797
A British victory over the Dutch in the naval battle of Camperdown restored the reputation of the navy
after the mutiny at Spithead earlier that year.
Somerville, Mary. A Preliminary Dissertation to the Mechanism of the Heavens by Mary Somerville. W. Clowes, 1832.
Somerville, Mary. “Art. VII. -1. Ueber den Halleyschen Cometen. Von Littrow. Wien, 1835. 2. Ueber den Halleyschen Cometen. Von Professor von Encke. Berliner Jarbuch, 1835”. Quarterly Review, Vol.
, pp. 195-33.
Somerville, Mary, François Arago, and François Arago. “Experiments on the Transmission of Chemical Rays of the Solar Spectrum across Different Areas. Excerpt from a letter of Mrs Somerville’s to Mr. Arago”. Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Séances de l’Académie des Sciences, Vol.
, pp. 473-6.
Pierre Simon, Marquis de Laplace,. Mechanism of the Heavens. Translator Somerville, Mary, John Murray, 1831.
Somerville, Mary. On Molecular and Microscopic Science. John Murray, 1869.
Somerville, Mary. “On the Action of the Rays of the Spectrum on Vegetable Juices. ”. Abstracts of the Papers Communicated to the Royal Society of London from 1843 to 1850, Vol.
, p. 569.
Somerville, Mary. On the Connexion of the Physical Sciences. Arno Press, 1975.
Somerville, Mary. “On the Magnetizing Power of the more Refrangible Solar Rays”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Vol.
, pp. I: 132 - 9.
Somerville, Mary. Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age, of Mary Somerville. Editor Somerville, Martha, John Murray, 1873.
Somerville, Mary. Personal Recollections, from Early Life to Old Age, of Mary Somerville. Editor Somerville, Martha, Roberts Brothers, 1874.
Somerville, Mary. Physical Geography. John Murray, 1848.
Somerville, Mary. Physical Geography. Lea and Blanchard, 1850.