Monthly Archives: August 2015

Living in Periodicals: the curious case of the two Charlotte Richardsons

We have written before about some of the many difficulties involved in identifying writers published in the Lady’s Magazine. A few weeks ago I was confronted with an oddity that was a new one to me, even after working with the periodical for such a long time: two women with near identical signatures whom I was convinced were different people.

Disambiguating (to use a term Wikipedia is fond of) signatures of contributors to eighteenth- and nineteenth-century periodicals is a knotty problem. It’s very likely, for instance, that generic signatures like A. Z. or Leonora were used by multiple individuals over time or even at the same time. To complicate matters further, we also know that the signatures of a single individual could be variously presently over the course of several months or years or even in a single issue of the magazine. The prolific early nineteenth-century prose and poetic contributor James Murray Lacey, for example, went by Mr. J. M. Lacey, Esq, J. M. Lacey, J. M. L. and possibly J. M. (author of many poems in the 1800s). Internal and external evidence can help resolve these riddles, but sometimes we just can’t be sure that we can definitively link all contributions by a single author. There is also, of course, the danger that we may attribute contributions to an author on the basis of such circumstantial evidence where, in reality, their authors were two or more different people. J. M. may well be James Murray Lacey. But he may also be John Mayne, another regular poetic contributor in the same years. Or J. M. may be someone else entirely.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 15.11.58

LM XLI (Aug 1810): 376. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / British l Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

My own disambiguation conundrum began when reading the poetry section of the August 1810 issue of the Lady’s Magazine. Something intrigued me about the “Lines by C. C. R.”: talent; a distinctive voice. I idly wonder who s/he was (a Charles Rowley or Clara Robinson, I pondered), but setting aside my feminist concerns about essentialist assumptions for a moment, I was convinced that C. C. R. was a young woman. And then I remembered a poet whose work had appeared in the magazine a couple of years before: a Charlotte Richardson whose ‘Stanzas by Charlotte Richardson’ had been published in August 1808 and who had been addressed in a sonnet in the same year by none other than the hardworking J. M. L. Could C. C. R. of Hinderwell and Charlotte Richardson be the same person?

A cursory skim through the magazine provided some clues. C. C. R. was, indeed, a woman and, to top it all, a woman whose surname was Richardson. All was revealed in a poem entitled  ‘Lines respectfully addressed to Miss C. C. Richardson, Hinderwell’ by fellow contributor Joanna Squire in the September 1811 issue (LM [Sept 1811]: 429). But I just couldn’t believe that this Charlotte Richardson and and Charlotte Richardson of the 1808 ‘Stanzas’ were one and the same. The tone and style of the poems that appeared above these signatures were too different.

I knew from a previous life of mine that Hinderwell is in North Yorkshire. So, I started googling ‘Charlotte Richardson’ and ‘Yorkshire’ and initially found several references to a Charlotte Richardson (nee Smith, 1775-1825) who had attended the Grey Coat School in York before entering service and who had developed an improbable but undeniable talent for poetry. Widowed as a young woman, with a child to feed and poverty stricken, this natural genius had been discovered and patronised by the philanthropist Catharine Cappe, who raised a subscription to have some of Charlotte Richardson’s verse published.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 15.15.48

LM XLII (Oct 1811): 477. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / British l Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

All this sounded very familiar. I went back to my notes on the magazine and found a biography of Richardson authored by Cappe and published in the Lady’s Magazine in September 1805 (LM [Sept 1805]: 477-79). How could I have forgotten that Cappe had written to the Lady’s Magazine alongside the Gentleman’s and a select group of other leading periodicals to help her raise subscriptions to see a volume of Richardson’s verse into the press? It duly appeared as Poems on Different Occasions in 1806.

Was Charlotte Richardson C. C. Richardson? I didn’t think so. I couldn’t find any evidence that Charlotte Richardson had a middle name at all, least of all one beginning with a C. But I found the answer I was looking for soon enough. C. C. Richardson of Hinderwell was in fact Charlotte Richardson. Just not the same Charlotte Richardson.

Charlotte Caroline Richardson (1796-1854) did live in Yorkshire, but was born in Lambeth, and led a very different life from her fellow poet. She was the daughter of Robert (died 1804) and Elizabeth Richardson (1760-1841), both of whom were poets, and had two siblings, Elizabeth (yet another poet) and Eleanor. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, Charlotte, who would become the most successful writer in her family, was sent to live with her aunt in Hinderwell, Yorkshire, as a child. In 1817 she returned to live with her long-since widowed mother, now running a school in Vauxhall. The place names that sometimes appear alongside her signatures in the Lady’s Magazine chart this move. That same year, she published Waterloo, a Poem on the Late Victory and a book of children’s verse entitled Isaac and Rebecca. Until 1818, she regularly submitted poems to the Lady’s Magazine, although none of the biographical sources I have identified mention this fact. [1] The only poem to appear under her full legal name in the magazine was ‘Hymn on the Death of her Most Gracious Majesty’ which appeared in the December 1818 issue (LM [Dec 1818]: 575). Other poetic volumes followed, as did the Robinson-published Gothic novel The Soldier’s Child, or Virtue Triumphant (1823). Four years later she married a John Richardson. A woman whose name had so perplexed me didn’t even complicate things by getting married and changing it. I couldn’t have forgiven myself if I hadn’t been able to identify her!

What interests me about the two Charlotte Richardsons is not just their writing, but the complex ways that their lives and writings are woven together in the rich if not always evenly sewn tapestry of the magazine. In a rather different way to the natural genius Charlotte Richardson, whose brutalising life story as well as sentimental verse was regaled before Lady’s and Gentleman’s Magazine readers, Charlotte Caroline Richardson’s life was a life lived in periodicals. Her father, a regular contributor to the long-running almanack The Ladies Diary (1704-1841), courted her mother, fellow contributor, Betty Smales, in its pages in flirtatious poetry before tracking down her location and eventually persuading her to marry him. Charlotte Caroline Richardson and her sister Elizabeth would also both publish poems in the Diary, although my initial researches suggest that none of the poems that Charlotte sent to the Lady’s Magazine were published in the Ladies’ Diary. Poetry submitted to both periodicals later appeared with other works in her Harvest, a Poem in Two Parts, With other Poetical Pieces (1818), a volume dedicated to the Ladies’ Diary‘s editor, Charles Hutton. 

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 15.17.21

The Ladies’ Diary; or, Woman’s Almanack, For the Year of our Lord 1815, 112: 21.

She had reason to be grateful to Hutton. For it was in his annual, in 1815, in a poem entitled ‘The Redbreast’s Fate’ about a ‘shivering’ robin caught in a storm and nurtured by the poet before being killed by a cat, that (however improbably it may sound) a reconciliation between Charlotte and her estranged mother was achieved. Perhaps it was these lines that affected Elizabeth to write back to her daughter: ‘So oft in life’s uneven way,/ Some stroke may intervene,/ Sweep all our fancied joys away/ And change the once-lov’d scene.’ [2]. In the next year’s number, Elizabeth addressed her daughter in a poem that begins by hailing her daughter’s literary talent and mourning the loss of her spouse, and Charlotte’s father, whose ‘numbers’ had ‘Long […] graved Diaria’s page’ [3]. Touched by Charlotte’s words Elizabeth vowed to ‘clasp’ her daughter to her ‘aching heart’ once again. Their reconciliation on the page as well, it seems in life, was complete.

Of course, behind these poetic effusions lay complex psychological realities that are beyond reconstruction. But what is clear is that for both Charlotte and Charlotte Caroline Richardson, life inflected their poetry and their poetry materially affected their lives, raising much needed funds or rehabilitating broken relationships. Periodicals including the Lady’s Magazine and the Ladies’ Diary were a vital technology in these processes.

Dr. Jennie Batchelor

School of English, University of Kent



[1] These sources include: Gideon Smales, EWhitby Authors and their Publications, with the Titles of all the Books Printed in Whitby (Whitby: Horne and Son, 1867), pp. 214-15;’Charlotte Caroline Richardson’, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 22 July 2004, 10:55 UTC, <> [accessed 25 August 2015 ]; and  J. R. de J. Jackson, “Richardson, Charlotte Caroline (1796–1854)”, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004. <> [accessed 25 August 2015]

[2] Ladies Diary or, Woman’s Almanack, For the Year of our Lord 1815, 112: 21.

[3] Ladies Diary or, Woman’s Almanack, For the Year of our Lord 1815, 113: 20.

C. D. H. or Catharine Day Haynes: A Gothic Author for the Lady’s Magazine and the Minerva Press

Over thirty years into the lifespan of the Lady’s Magazine most of the magazine’s popular fiction remained the work of the anonymous, pseudonymous or often unsigned contributions of the periodicals’ reader/writers. Much of the content serialized in the magazine after 1800 closely resembles those popular Gothic novels published –and, importantly – paid for by the Minerva Press. And as we continue with our research, we uncover more authors who contributed to the Lady’s Magazine as unpaid correspondents and were paid for their works elsewhere.

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 12.31.16

LM XLVII (Oct 1816): 437. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission

One of the correspondents who would become a paid writer published first in the Lady’s Magazine under the initials ‘C. D. H.’ According to The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, 1800-1900 [1] ‘C. D. H.’ is Miss C. D. Haynes, later Mrs C. D. Golland. Haynes published her first Gothic novel, The Castle of Le Blanc, A Tale, in serial form in the Lady’s Magazine from October 1816 through 1819.

This novel is really quite wonderful. It opens with a young bride, Clara, travelling to the castle of her new husband. On the journey he seems unaccountably agitated and cold but when she asks him about his odd behavior he forbids her to question him. When they reach his ancestral home: ‘the ponderous gate of the castle opened to receive them—a cold shivering ran through the frame of Clara; she viewed it as the grave of the departed happiness’ (LM XLVII [Oct 1816]: 439). The novel takes on a Radcliffean tone, interweaving Gothic conventions found in The Italian and The Mysteries of Udolpho. Clara, pregnant and alone in the castle with her husband the Marquis le Blanc is desperately unhappy as he ‘made too free with the bottle after dinner’ and ‘generally joined her quite inebriated’  (LM XLVIII [Aug 1817]: 357). The novel’s inset tale features with gambling, ruin, a beautiful siren, and a virtuous heroine who cross-dresses as a gamester to successfully win her lover’s fortune from him rather than see him lose it to his enemies.


LM XLVIII (Feb 1817): 88. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission

What I find so interesting about C. D. Haynes, who I believe is in fact Catharine Day Haynes, later Catharine Day Golland, is her relationship with the Lady’s Magazine. Because not only did Catharine Haynes publish her first Gothic novel in the magazine, she also contributed other items, such as a rebus in February 1817 that was solved in June. The solution to the rebus was posed by a correspondent with the signature ‘Henry’ who answered the riddle with: ‘Golland’s the swain belov’d by thee’ (LM XLVIII [June 1817]: 233). Part of Catharine’s courtship then, or at least her publication of it, was conducted within the very pages of the periodical.


LM XLVIII (June 1817): 233. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission

Catharine went on to publish a number of novels with the Minerva Press, and the first two of these were actually printed in 1818 and 1819 – while she was still writing The Castle of Le Blanc for the Lady’s Magazine. Clearly her paid work did not stop her from writing unpaid for the magazine. Her Minerva Press novels include The Foundling of Devonshire, or who is she? (1818) Augustus and Adeline, or, the monk of St. Barnardine: a romance (1819), Eleanor, or the Spectre of St. Michaels: a romantic tale (1821, tr. Fr. 1824).

But even after such successes with the Minerva Press, Catharine Haynes’ relationship with the Lady’s Magazine endured. The magazine’s births, marriages, and deaths section published her nuptials to ‘the swain Golland’ in January 1821: ‘At St. Bride’s, Mr. John Golland, of the New Kent Road, to Miss C. D. Haynes, author of the Castle Le Blanc, Foundling of Devonshire, and several other works’ (LM II [Jan 1821]: 56).

Screen Shot 2015-08-19 at 13.01.17

LM III (April 1822): 224. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission

Interestingly, the Magazine notes not only the Gothic tale she wrote for them, but also her publication with Minerva. Little more than a year later, Catharine Haynes – now Golland – is mentioned again in the same section, but this time it is a birth that is announced: ‘a daughter born to the wife of Mr. John Golland, in the New-Kent-road,–formerly Miss Haynes, authoress of the Castle of le Blanc, a novel given in our Magazine’ (LM III [April 1822]: 224).

But the Robinsons’ loyalty to Mrs Golland ends here. In 1822, after she has published two novels with the Minerva Press, Catharine sends another novel, likely unsolicited and provided free of charge, to the editors of the magazine. The novel was clearly not well received. In the Noember 1822 column ‘To our correspondents’ the editors state that:


LM III (November 1822): 640. Image © Adam Matthew Digital / Birmingham Central Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

What this indicates, I believe, is that contributors to the magazine were not amateur or unprofessional as they have often been described by literary historians such as Robert Mayo.[2] They were skilled and professional writers who published work elsewhere that was paid for and in some cases returned to the magazine to continue to provide – or attempt to provide – further original fiction with no payment expected. Catharine Haynes Golland is just one example of those correspondents whose literary career fails to conform to the model of authorship as a linear progression from the amateur to professional.

[1] Joanne Shattock, The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, 1800-1900 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 929-30.

[2] Robert D. Mayo, The English Novel in the Magazines, 1740-1815 (London: Oxford University Press, 1962), p. 2; p. 81; p. 317.

Dr Jenny DiPlacidi

University of Kent

The Pirates of Paternoster Row: ruses and reprints in the Lady’s Magazine

Through our weekly posts we have been trying to keep you up to date on our progress in finding out as much as possible about the Lady’s Magazine. Although we are passionate about our research, we have also not resisted the inclination to have a little moan every once in a while about the many challenges that have sometimes kept us back. A scarcity of sources, the rather fundamental problem of not having a complete text for the magazine itself, you have read it all before. We have not done this to vent our pent-up rage. That, we do amongst ourselves, weekly over coffee. Rather, we hope that our troubles may be instructive to other scholars who want to study the Lady’s Magazine or other periodicals of its kind and time. After all, the problems that we face are characteristic of the whole of the periodical press of the eighteenth and early nineteenth century. The lack or disappearance of historical archives and artefacts is not the only issue. Certain clever ruses through which magazine editors sought to evade critical scrutiny into their publications in their own time can of course be even more troublesome to readers over two centuries later. In his study on the subject, E. W. Pitcher gives a long list of practices by which late-eighteenth-century magazines ‘indulged in subterfuge and marketplace subversion’.[1] I have recently started to research the ways in which the Lady’s Magazine repurposed material from other publications, both books and rival periodicals, and I have found these to be a case in point.

The publisher and Justitia Chodowiecki 1781

Daniel Chodowiecki – The publisher and Justitia (1781)

You may have anticipated that `repurposed` is a euphemism. Today we might be tempted to use a harsher term like ‘piracy’ or ‘plagiarism’ when referring to the magazine’s wholesale reprinting of second-hand material without acknowledgement. It is important to remember, however, that this was standard practice when the Lady’s Magazine was published. Although reader-contributors delivered a lot of original copy, like many magazines of its day, it partially fits in the category of the ‘miscellanies’. These were periodicals that contained a large amount of republished material. Although this internet-era jargon was of course not current back then, these periodicals were foremost purveyors of ‘content’, which is basically whatever a target audience will read and come back for. Long-running magazines could tacitly reprint old items from their own pages, like the Town and Country Magazine (1769-1796) which kept its greatest hits in circulation, and after a few decades, the Lady’s Magazine occasionally did this as well. More often, periodicals looked elsewhere. Rudimentary copyright laws did exist in the eighteenth century, and sometimes publishers did take each other to court, but it was an unwritten rule that you could get away with more in periodicals than in book publication. As long as it did not get out of hand, magazines stole from each other quite contentedly. This understanding is a direct result of the proliferation of the magazine genre during the second half of the eighteenth century. By now many titles were addressing the same, though wide readership, and the easiest way to keep up with your competitors is simply to follow their example closely when they are on to a successful idea.

Marcella March 1771 Vol I

LM, I (March 1771). Image © Adam Matthew Digital / British Library. Not to be reproduced without permission.

A frequently quipped motto in eighteenth-century periodicals was ‘multum in parvo’, ‘much in little [space]’, and this soon became the enduring philosophy of the magazine genre. This preference for having a large number of short items in each issue made it especially opportune to scavenge the ever expanding print market for bits of interesting text. Eighteenth-century magazines employed staff writers, pejoratively known as ‘hacks’, whose job was to do just that. If it was considered necessary, these authorial buccaneers would also alter the originals to various extents. The Lady’s Magazine in March 1771 shows how accepted this practice was by only changing a single name in an excerpt from Johnson’s Rambler, and copying the rest of it entirely verbatim as “The History of Marcella” (her original was called “Melissa”), without citing the source. The fact that readers might recognize the well-known original, which was still in print through collected editions, can therefore not have been a real concern.


Carle van Loo – Portrait of the Empress Elizabeth Petrowna (1760)

The Lady’s Magazine also has thousands of ‘anecdotes’, of one or two paragraphs in length, and usually about historical figures. The sources for these are hardly ever given, but we would be very naïve to assume that they were gathered from the table talk at the editor’s club, or from discussions at the coffee house. These anecdotes are usually excerpts from books, either recent publications or older ones that most readers would not be overly familiar with, so that they had an illusion of novelty for the magazine’s reader. With the help of some online databases, I have for instance discovered that an “Anecdote of Elizabeth Petrowna, late Empress of Russia” (September 1770) is an extract from the then recent English translation of General Mannstein’s Memoirs of Russia, Historical, Political and Military (also 1770), though the magazine does not tell us so. The anecdotes are usually unedited excerpts, but sometimes they are paraphrased, likely to prevent readers from realizing that they were being fed repurposed content, and to put plagiarized rivals off the scent as well.

At times this appropriation of content is more blatant. A nine-part series in the first two volumes (1770-1771), entitled “The Lady’s Biography”, without any mention of this, consists entirely of slightly edited excerpts from the anonymous Biographium Faemineum: The Female Worthies (1766). Occasionally a phrase is tweaked, or one fanciful adjective replaced by another, but the magazine’s article series is undoubtedly a rewrite. Interestingly, such items tend to migrate across periodicals, often under different titles, as one plagiarism is in turn plagiarized in other publications. Periodicals have their favourite competitors to steal from, and this can teach us which publications aspired to be like each other. The Lady’s Magazine may have reprinted the work of others extensively, but its own commercial success is illustrated by how it regularly seems to have been at the start of a chain of piracies that are taken up by other periodicals consecutively. There is arguably such a thing as an ‘original plagiarism’. Some caution is needed, as other factors may influence this process too. The abovementioned Town and Country Magazine had strong links to the Lady’s Magazine because the two publications for several years shared their publisher, Robinson and Co. on Paternoster Row, and the fact that the same items often appeared in both periodicals at around the same time may indicate that already before the initial printing they would have exchanged material that was submitted to them, or produced by their respective staff writers. For all we know they may have shared the latter as well, as the records on the Lady’s Magazine do not reveal much about who it employed.

I also expect to find in the Lady’s Magazine the type of longer essays that Pitcher refers to as ‘paraphrase-and-excerpt articles’.[2] These combine elements from several sources into one ‘new’ text, travel narratives and accounts of foreign cities being a popular topic. These are very difficult to identify, as will probably have been the responsible staff writers’ intention. Unacknowledged translations that appear nowhere else than in the magazine, mostly from French sources, are also elusive because it is not always apparent where you need to look for C_LIngenu_927the original. A translated excerpt from Voltaire’s L’Ingénu (1767) is properly credited in the August 1771 issue, maybe because the author’s name was a selling point, but in the same year several translated tales from the less famous Denis-Dominique Cardonne’s Mêlanges de Littérature Orientale (1769) are not.

Needless to say, the Lady’s Magazine is generous with information when the excerpted original had been published by its own publisher Robinson, and will often indicate in the rubric that the work in question has been ‘recently published’. This makes the excerpt to all ends and purposes an advertisement. Like most of its competitors, the Lady’s Magazine also contained more straightforward announcements of books by its own and other publishers, and starting from the early nineteenth century also regular book reviews, which include long excerpts from the discussed work that function as self-contained texts. The verdict of the reviewer is limited to an introduction of a short paragraph to recommend the excerpted work to the reader’s attention, and the profuse quotation that follows makes this type of article a cunning form of republication too.

The results of my ongoing research into the sources for repurposed content in the Lady’s Magazine, and the sometimes surprising publications where its own original contributions ended up (maybe a topic for a future post?), will eventually be added to our annotated index. In the meantime I am going to have lots of fun trying to catch the crafty staff writers at their tricks.

Dr. Koenraad Claes

School of English, University of Kent

[1] Pitcher, E. W. An Anatomy of Reprintings and Plagiarisms. Lampeter: the Edwin Mellen Press, 2000. p. 2

[2] idem, p. 90