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Diary of Mary Howard

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10413

Scope and Contents

The diary reflects the life of a young girl whose horizons were limited by social and religious constraints. She was eager for self-improvement and created for herself a series of routines and good intentions, which are inserted into the end of the diary. In the daily entries she often refers to these programmes by a system of capital letters and Roman numerals.


  • Creation: 1813


Biographical / Historical

Mary Howard was the eldest child of the meteorologist and chemist Luke Howard FRS and his wife Mariabella Eliot Howard. She was born in 1797, the year after her parents’ marriage.

Mary’s brother Robert was born in 1801. She had two sisters, Elizabeth and Rachel , and two other younger brothers, John Eliot and Joseph.

Mary was raised in a Quaker family and was taken to her first Quaker meeting at the age of five. Her mother was apparently somewhat severe in the upbringing of her children, as indicated by letters from her own mother begging her to be less strict.

In 1810 her father Luke wrote that Mary was attending Amelia Hawkethorn’s boarding school in Isleworth,: ”It is a school in much repute, but far too crowded, which makes us less satisfied than we could wish about her. She grows tall and improves much in writing etc.”

In 1813, the year of the diary, her family moved to 7 Bruce Grove, Tottenham, where the house is marked with a blue plaque to Luke Howard, ‘Namer of clouds’.

She did not survive into adulthood.

(Biographical information extraced from 'Luke Howard A Miscellany, compiled by his Great Grandson Bernard Howard' (London, 1959) by the donor.)


0.0003 cubic metre(s) (1 volume) : Paper

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated, June 2022

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Cambridge University Library Repository

Cambridge University Library
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