Mary Emma Ebsworth

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Mary Emma Ebsworth (2 September 1794 13 October 1881) was an English dramatist.



Ebsworth was the daughter of Robert Fairbrother, member of the Glovers' Company, and in later years a pantomimist and fencing-master, was born in London. Her father was an affectionate friend of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, and though he had lost several thousand pounds by him would never permit one word to be spoken in his disparagement. He was also the schoolmate and lifelong friend of Mrs. Jordan; great efforts were made to induce him to surrender her letters, many from the Duke of Clarence; but he indignantly refused any bribe, and himself destroyed all his papers, lest his descendants might be tempted.

Richard Brinsley Sheridan Irish-British politician, playwright and writer

Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan was an Irish satirist, a playwright, poet, and long-term owner of the London Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. He is known for his plays such as The Rivals, The School for Scandal, The Duenna, and A Trip to Scarborough. He was also a Whig MP for 32 years in the British House of Commons for Stafford (1780–1806), Westminster (1806–1807), and Ilchester (1807–1812). He is buried at Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey. His plays remain a central part of the canon and are regularly performed worldwide.

Dorothea Jordan Irish actress

Dorothea Jordan also known interchangeably as Mrs Jordan, and previously Miss Francis or Miss Bland, was an Anglo-Irish actress, courtesan, and the mistress and companion of the future King William IV of the United Kingdom, for 20 years (1791-1811) while he was Duke of Clarence. Together they had ten illegitimate children, all of whom took the surname FitzClarence.

Under the avowed signature of ‘Sheridonicus’ he wrote some papers in ‘Thalia's Tablet, or Melpomene's Memorandum Book,’ of which No. 1 was published on Saturday, 8 Dec. 1821. Fairbrother married Mary Bailey, who had been brought up in a nunnery at St. Omer. One of their sons, Samuel Glover Fairbrother, became a well-known theatrical publisher; another son, Benjamin Smith Fairbrother, who died 28 Aug. 1878, aged 76, was prompter, stage-manager, and treasurer in succession at the chief theatres in London.


French was so habitually spoken and read by Mrs. Fairbrother in the early days of her married life that her daughter, Mary Emma, turned to translating books for the publishers, one of these being a romance of ‘Masaniello.’ On 22 June 1817 she was married to Joseph Ebsworth, and lived at 3 Gray's Walk, Lambeth, where five of their ten children were born, the eldest being Emilie Marguerite, born in 1818, afterwards wife of Samuel H. Cowell, comedian. Before December 1826 she went to Edinburgh. She was closely associated in dramatic composition and translations with her husband; but several of her independent works were published in John Cumberland's acting drama: ‘Payable at Sight; or the Chaste Salute,’ acted at the Surrey Theatre, &c.; ‘The Two Brothers of Pisa,’ with music by T. Hughes, at the Royal Coburg, printed 1828; ‘Ass's Skin;’ and, among many others, perhaps her best work, often acted, ‘The Sculptor of Florence.’ She was of a most retiring and unselfish nature, loving a private life with the constant care of her children and of her parents, who joined her in Edinburgh. Mrs. Ebsworth survived her husband thirteen years; all but three of her children died before her.

Joseph Ebsworth (1788–1868) was an English dramatist and musician.

Surrey Theatre former theatre in Southwark, London, England

The Surrey Theatre, London began life in 1782 as the Royal Circus and Equestrian Philharmonic Academy, one of the many circuses that provided contemporary London entertainment of both horsemanship and drama. It stood in Blackfriars Road, near the junction with Westminster Bridge Road, in the London Borough of Southwark.

She returned to London in 1879, and died at Walworth, aged 87; she was buried on the 19th at West Norwood Cemetery.

West Norwood Cemetery cemetery in West Norwood in London, England

West Norwood Cemetery is a 40-acre (16 ha) cemetery in West Norwood in London, England. It was also known as the South Metropolitan Cemetery. One of the first private landscaped cemeteries in London, it is one of the "Magnificent Seven" cemeteries of London, and is a site of major historical, architectural and ecological interest.

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    Wikisource-logo.svg  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain :  "Ebsworth, Mary Emma"  . Dictionary of National Biography . London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.

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