1743 – 1809 A.D.
Hannah Cowley, an English dramatist, born in Devonshire, daughter of Philip Parkhouse, a book-seller.
When about twenty-five, Hannah married Mr. Cowley, a captain in the East India Company’s service. She had been some years married before the idea of writing presented itself to her.
When witnessing a performance she said to her husband, in disparagement of the play, “Why, I could write as well!” Her answer to his laugh of incredulity consisted in writing the first act of The Runaway! The entire play was finished in a fortnight, and sent to Garrick, by whom it was produced with complete success at Drury Lane in February, 1776.
During the next twenty years Mrs. Cowley wrote a number of plays, one of which, the popular The Belle’s Stratagem, was frequently revived by Henry Irving and Ellen Terry.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.