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Henriette Camilla Jenkin

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Published : 2 Articles
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Date of Birth : N/A
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Novelist. Born in Jamaica, of Scottish parentage. Was talented in drawing and singing. In 1832. married Charles Jenkin, midshipman, afterwards captain R.N. The Jenkins lived at various times in England—where their son Fleeming was born; in Scotland, and on the Continent. Mrs. Jenkin became friend of Agostino and Giovanni Ruffini; was the original of the English girl Lucy in the latter's Doctor Antonio (Corrigan, "Giovanni Ruffini's Letters to Vernon Lee", English Miscellany, 1962, p. 231). During a residence in Manchester, became acquainted with the Gaskells; though Mrs. GaskeIl regarded Mrs. Jenkin merely as an "acquaintance", she later wrote that she "had quite a reflected lustre" from the fact that she could say to admirers of Cousin Stella "that I knew & could tell them all about the authoress" (Letters of Mrs Gaskell, No. 455).


Author of twelve works of fiction, the first published probably about 1840, the last in 1874. According to R. L. Stevenson, had no natural taste for literature and wrote novels only to earn money (Memoir of Fleeming Jenkin, pp. 21-22); some of her novels, however, highly praised by reviewers. Cousin Stella, 1859, and all six of her following novels, published by Smith, Elder & Co., to which firm Mrs. Gaskell gave her an introduction (Letters, No. 412).

Her appearance in H.W., like her introduction to Smith, Elder, Mrs. Jenkin owed to the good offices of Mrs. Gaskell. Mrs. Jenkin, living in Paris in 1855, evidently sent to Mrs. Gaskell in that year various papers to be placed in periodicals—a commission that Mrs. Gaskell carried out. The first item listed below is assigned in the Office Book to "Mrs. Gaskell's friend"; payment is recorded as sent to Mrs. GaskelI. The second is assigned to "Mrs. Jenkyn". The two papers appeared in consecutive numbers. Mrs. GaskeII had obviously sent both to H.W. at the same time, and with them, apparently, as Dickens's letters seem to indicate, also other material by Mrs. Jenkin. Shortly after the publication of the two items, Dickens wrote to Wills, September 4 (MS Huntington Library), about a paper "by a Mrs Jenkyn—Mrs GaskeIl's friend—"concerning which the author had written to him from Paris and which he had promised to read. In a following letter to Wills, September 20 (MS Huntington Library), Dickens again mentioned a paper by "Mrs Gaskell's friend Mrs Jenkyn" (perhaps the same paper referred to in the earlier letter), which Wills was to return to the writer; if he did not have her Paris street number, he was to send her the paper in care of Mrs. GaskeIl.

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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