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Hannah Woolley was orphaned as a child. She learned 17th-century medical remedies and recipes from her mother and sister. As a young woman, she got a job in an aristocratic household as a governess and also learned the arts of preserving and cooking. In 1647, she married Benjamin Woolley, a schoolmaster of the free grammar school in Newport, Essex, with whom she had four sons and helped to run the school. Following the death of her husband in 1661, Hannah continued to work as a teacher and began to publish books on household management, beginning with The Ladies Directory (1661). She trained women to be teachers, governesses, and other types of domestic workers, while encouraging them to continue their education. Her other works included The Cook’s Guide (1664) The Queen-Like Closet (1670) and The Gentlewoman’s Companion (1673). She was one of the first women to make a living from writing.
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