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Sarah Smith

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Published : 20 Articles
Pen Names : HesbaStretton
Date of Birth : N/A
Death : N/A
Views : 3200

Smith, Sarah I Mrs. Stretton l, 1832–1911, novelist and writer of children's stories under pseudonym "Hesba Stretton." Born in Shropshire. Attended girls' day school, but gained much of her education by reading books in shop of her father, a bookseller and publisher. Early began writing stories. Her "Jessica's First Prayer" in Sunday at Home, July 1866, thereafter published in book form, won wide popularity; thousands of copies sold; was translated into every European language and into many Asiatic and African languages. Published some fifty titles, many of them short tales issued by Religious Tract Society; also novels: The Clives of Burcot, 1866; The Doctor's Dilemma, 1872; and others. Earned her living by her pen. Took active part in philanthropic and humanitarian movements; assisted Miss Burdett-Coutts in her works of charity.


      Miss Smith's connection with H.W. came about through her sister Elizabeth's sending "The Lucky Leg" to Dickens, without the author's knowledge. In accepting it, Dickens suggested that he would welcome further contributions, and a friendship sprang up between him and Miss Smith (D.N.B.). Among her contributions to A.Y.R. was "The Travelling post-Office" in the 1866 Christmas number, "Mugby Junction." Dickens's letters to Wills occasionally mention Miss Smith's A.Y.R. contributions and suggest what she should do to improve certain papers that she intended to collect and publish in book form.
      Miss Smith's H.W. contribution is the story of a widower who proposes to a lady who has a wooden leg, each of his two former wives having had a wooden leg. Augustus J. C. Hare, in The Story of My Life (v, 33–38), related practically the identical account as an actual happening.
                                                                                           D.N.B. suppl, 1901–1911

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

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography

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