Full Name Chapone, Hester
Birth Date 1727-10-27
Death Date 1801-12-25
Birth Place Northamptonshire (England)
Death Place Middlesex (England)

Hester Chapone was the only surviving daughter of a country gentleman, Thomas Mulso, who provided her with an expansive education. Her mother, on the contrary, allegedly discouraged Chapone from intellectually uplifting pursuits. In Chapone’s twenties, she was accepted as a member of the circle of female minds in London, known as the “Bluestockings”, where Chapone began her lifelong friendship with linguist Elizabeth Carter and social reformer Elizabeth Montagu. Chapone was also connected to the intellectuals including the Reverend Burrows, Mary Prescott, Samuel Richardson and Susannah Highmore. Though Chapone also wrote poems and literary criticism, she was most noted for her works of letters, in which she presented her feminist discussions about multiple dimensions of woman’s life including woman’s love, friendship, marriage and education. The most celebrated one, Letters on the Improvement of the Mind (1773), corrected by Montagu when it was a manuscript, was described as a detailed plan for educating girls. A collection of Chapone’s letters to Richardson, published in The Posthumous Works of Mrs. Chapone, edited by Richardson and Carter, was about a woman’s right to decide whether to accept an arranged marriage and are sometimes referred to as Letters on Filial Obedience and Matrimonial Creed. In 1760, Chapone was married to John Chapone, the son of the feminist writer Sarah Chapone; he passed away after less than ten months after the wedding. Left with little money, Chapone was unable to afford a home of her own and began to live by turns with relatives and friends in London. It was not until 1770s that Chapone earned sufficient income from publishing her works that was able to live on her own. 

Created 2017-01-11, 10:49:39
Updated 2021-12-07, 14:04:03