Lady Mary W. Montagu
English Author & Letter Writer
1689 – 1762 A.D.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, an English author and letter-writer, eldest daughter of the Duke of Kingston. At the age of twenty-one she translated the Encheiridion of Epictetus.
In 1712 she married Edward Wortley Montagu, and on the accession of George I she went to London with her husband. There her beauty and wit attracted unusual attention at court, and she was much admired by the wits, especially by Pope. Her husband being appointed ambassador to the Porte in 1716, she accompanied him to Constantinople. Her letters describing her travels from the best known portion of her correspondence, and their novelty, liveliness and with gave them an immediate reputation.
On their return to England in 1718 the Montagus settled near Pope at Twickenham, and Lady Mary became one of the best-known women in London society. Pope seems to have made a declaration of love to her which was met with a burst of laughter, and the poet afterward satirized her as Sappho in various verses. In 1739, for unknown reasons, she left England, and lived chiefly in Italy, apart from her family.
Lady Mary has another claim to remembrance in her courageous adoption for her own children of the Turkish practice of inoculation for small-pox, and for her energy in promoting its introduction into England, in the face of violent prejudice.
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.