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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Mary Catherine Rowsell

Author: Mary Catherine Rowsell (1839–1921)

Alternate Name(s): Pen Derwas (pseudonym)

Biography: Mary Catherine Rowsell was born in 1839 in London, the daughter of Charles John Rowsell, the inventor of the graphoscope to view photographs. She was educated at Queen's College, Brussels, and Bonn. She never married. In her thirties, she began writing fiction with Abbots' Crag (1872) which she followed with further novels for children and adults. Most of her works dealt with historical subjects, such as her better known Traitor or Patriot? A Tale of the Rye-House Plot (1885). For a short time she wrote for the stage and she edited the short-lived St. Paul's Magazine (1889). By the late 1890s, Rowsell had fallen on hard times: the small annuity left her by the death of her father (in 1882) and her mother (in 1897) shrunk due to bad investments. The Royal Literary Fund aided her four times in her later years. She died in 1921.

Author Tags:

References: British Census (1871); RLF (case number 2562); Who's Who (1907)

Fiction Titles:

  1. Abbots' Crag: A Tale.  1 vol.  London: Whittaker, 1872.
  2. Saint Nicolas' Eve, and Other Tales.  1 vol.  London: Samuel Tinsley, 1876.
  3. Love Loyal.  3 vol.  London: Hurst and Blackett, 1879.
  4. Jeannette.  3 vol.  London: Hurst and Blackett, 1881.
  5. Number Nip: or, The Spirit of the Giant Mountain.  1 vol.  London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1884.
  6. Traitor or Patriot?: A Tale of the Rye-House Plot.  1 vol.  London: Blackie, 1885.
  7. Miss Vanbrugh.  1 vol.  Bristol: Arrowsmith, 1885.
  8. The Pedlar and his Dog.  1 vol.  London: Blackie, 1885.
  9. The Silver Dial.  3 vol.  London: Swan Sonnenschein, 1886.
  10. The Red House.  1 vol.  London: Hamilton, 1888.
  11. The Story of a Queen.  1 vol.  London: Blackie, 1889.
  12. Thorndyke Manor: A Tale of Jacobite Times.  1 vol.  London: Blackie, 1890.
  13. The Friend of the People.  3 vol.  London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1894.