Author Information At the Circulating Library
Author: Mary Jemima Albert (1830–1902)
Biography: Mary Jemima Albert was born in 1830 in Hounslow, the daughter of George Albert and Jemima Smithson. Her father served in the 15th King's Hussars and saw action in the Peninsular Campaign (including the retreat from Corunna) and Waterloo. Albert never married. After her father died in 1856, she, her mother, and her six siblings fell on hard times so Albert turned to writing to support her family, many of whom were invalids. As her application to the Royal Literary Fund reveals, though she wrote prolifically, she received little renumeration: "I wrote for thirteen years before I sold anything, and then received £10 from the S.P.C.K. for a small volume." Albert wrote children's books including the didactic Freddie's Latin Lessons (1871) and Butterflies and Fairies (1873) before turning to adult fare such as Behind the Kafes (1890) about harems in Constantinople; Brooke Finchley's Daughter (1891); the three-volume The Shelling of Peas (1892); and the sensational Lord Culmore's Error (1901). In addition, she wrote another dozen serial novels in popular periodicals such as The Family Herald. By 1898, Albert lived in poverty with her last surviving sister. Inexplicably, the RLF deemed her "literary claim insufficient" and refused her help. She died in 1902.
References: British Census (1871, 1881); RLF (case number 2520)