Mary Collier

Standard Name: Collier, Mary
Birth Name: Mary Collier
Used Form: Mary Collier, now a washer-woman, at Petersfield in Hampshire
MC , writing during the earlier eighteenth century, is the first of the known proletarian women poets. Her best-known work is a powerful modern georgic; she also published occasional poems, some of them proto-feminist, and biblical paraphrase.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Occupation Sojourner Truth
After the first trauma of an auction when she was nine, she was repeatedly sold. Having grown up on a Dutch farm she was sometimes beaten for not speaking English well enough. Like the free...
Textual Features Medora Gordon Byron
The fictional spinster here finds Miss Byron's bachelor sympathetic but querulous, and decides to make clear by a parallel account that unmarried women are not like that. I declare, on the honour of a...
Textual Features Ann Candler
The conditions of AC 's life left her no chance of emulating the feisty tone of earlier women poets of the same social rank. Mary Collier and Mary Leapor had no dependents and were able...
Textual Features Mary Masters
The first poem in the volume addresses Lord Burlington , the second Calista, a friend of MM whose sense and goodness, she says, vindicate the reputation of women. There follow personal pieces (religious and...
Textual Production Ellen Johnston
Her work garnered considerable response, including many poems of praise and compliment which were printed alongside her own in her later collection. These ranged from a verse proposal of marriage to a poetic tribute asserting...


By 2 April 1756: Stephen Duck, the poet and former farm labourer...

Writing climate item

By 2 April 1756

Stephen Duck , the poet and former farm labourer who had been taken up by patrons including Queen Caroline and supplied with a living as a clergyman, drowned himself in the trout stream behind the...

1764: German labouring-class poet Anna Luise Karsch...

Writing climate item


German labouring-class poet Anna Luise Karsch first reached print with four separate publications at Berlin, most importantly a collection, Auserlesene Gedichte (edited for publication by J. G. Sulzer ).

January 1781-December 1782: The Lady's Poetical Magazine, or Beauties...

Writing climate item

January 1781-December 1782

The Lady's Poetical Magazine, or Beauties of British Poetry appeared, published by James Harrison in four half-yearly numbers; it is arguable whether or not it kept the first number's promise of generous selections of work...


Ferguson, Moira et al. “Introduction”. The Thresher’s Labour and The Woman’s Labour, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, 1985, p. iii - xii.
Collier, Mary. Poems, on Several Occasions. Printed for the author, 1762.
Collier, Mary. The Poems of Mary Collier, The Washerwoman of Petersfield. W. Minchin.
Collier, Mary et al. “The Woman’s Labour”. The Thresher’s Labour and The Woman’s Labour, edited by Edward Palmer Thompson et al., Merlin, 1989.
Collier, Mary. The Woman’s Labour: An Epistle to Mr Stephen Duck. Printed for the author and sold by J. Roberts, 1739.