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Short biography
Hester Mulso was born in in Twywell, Northamptonshire, the daughter of a gentleman farmer and his wife, and received a good education at home. She read widely and largely taught herself French, Italian, music and drawing. In 1760, she married John Chapone, a lawyer, who died within the year; Hester never remarried. She began writing poems and essays as a child and corresponded with leading writers of the time, such as Samuel Richardson. She also wrote articles for several popular periodicals and magazines such as The Rambler, The Adventurer, and The Gentleman’s Magazine. Hester Chapone was a frequent attendee at Bluestocking circle meetings that included Elizabeth Robinson Montagu, Elizabeth Carter, Mary Delaney, and others. Hester's writing addressed issues of religion, education, friendship, and female accomplishments, and provided a living for her. Her works included The Story of Fidelia (1753) and Miscellanies in Prose and Verse (1775), as well as the most popular work of the first generation of Bluestockings -- Letters on the Improvement of the Mind: Addressed to a Young Lady (1773). Its success gave Hester Chapone status as an expert on women’s education, role in society, and household management.
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