Isabella Mayson was born in Cheapside, London, the daughter of a linen merchant. Her father died when she was a child and her mother remarried to a widower with children of his own. They went to live in Epsom, Surrey. Isabella was sent to school for two years to Heidelberg, Germany, where she became an accomplished pianist before returning to England. In 1856, she married Samuel Orchart Beeton, a wealthy publisher of books and popular magazines. Mrs. Beeton -- the name by which she became known -- began writing on food preparation, cooking and many other household tasks for her husband's periodical, the Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. She realized that there were a growing number of middle-class women like herself who needed help learning how to run a home, manage servants, deal with tradesmen, or care for a sick child. She became a household word as the author of The Book of Household Management (1861), a runaway bestseller, which was originally published in three parts. It contained 900 recipes, many illustrated with colored engravings, and was the first book to show recipes in a format that is still used today. The book became an indepensible guide to several generations of British and American housekeepers. Mrs. Beeton died at age 28 from puerperal fever following the birth of her fourth child.