The Taylor Sisters

The Taylor Sisters
   , Ann (1782-1866) and Jane (1783-1824)
   Ann and Jane Taylor were born in London, the daughters of Isaac Taylor "of Ongar," an engraver, and were raised in Lavenham in Suffolk, where their father was also pastor of a nonconformist chapel. Educated at home, the sisters helped their father at his engraving. Ann contributed the correct solution to a puzzle in the annual Pocket Book for 1799 and won first prize, thus starting off her literary career. Thereafter she was a regular contributor, helping with the family income. From a very early age the sisters began imagining stories and writing plays and verses, and soon they were writing for the publishers Darton and Harvey. Volumes of Original Poems for Infant Minds appeared in 1804 and 1805 and Rhymes for the Nursery in 1806. Hymns for Infant Minds followed in 1810 and went through nearly one hundred editions in England and America; it was translated into German, Dutch, and Russian. Original Hymns for Sunday Schools was published in 1812. The father was called to the congregation at Ongar, Essex, in 1811, where he remained for the rest of his life. The sisters' poems had to be snatched between short breaks from their engraving work. Jane never married and devoted her life to parish work. She died at Ongar and was buried in the chapel grounds. In 1813, Ann married a Congregational minister, the Rev. Joseph Gilbert, and lived in Yorkshire and in Nottingham, where her husband died in 1852, and where she lived on until she died. During her married life Ann published The Convalescent, Twelve Letters on Recovery from Sickness (1839) and in 1844 Seven Blessings for Little Children. She also contributed about a quarter of the whole number of hymns in Dr. Leifchild's collection of Original Hymns published in 1842. On her husband's death she wrote Memoir of the Rev. Joseph Gilbert. Some of the sisters' poems: "Air, Earth, Fire, Water," "Dirty Jim," "Greedy Richard," "Jane and Eliza," "My Mother," "Notorious Glutton," "That God Would Bless the Slave as He Hath Us," "The Blind Sailor," "The Cow and the Ass," "The Maniac's Song," "The Plum-Cake," "The Tumble," "There is a Path That Leads to God," "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," "Two Little Kittens."
   Sources: A Celebration of Women Writers ( Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition, 1.1. Freedom's Lyre: or Psalms, Hymns, and Sacred Songs, for the Slave and His Friends. Edwin F. Hatfield, ed. S.W. Benedict, 1840. Little Anne: Book ( The Autobiography and Other Memorials of Mrs. Gilbert, Formerly Ann Taylor, by Ann Taylor, Vols. I and II. Josiah Gilbert, ed. Henry S. King and Co., 1874. The Book of a Thousand Poems: A Family Treasury. J. Murray Macbain, ed. Peter Bedrick Books, 1983 ( The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 ( The Home Book of Verse for Young Folks. Burton Egbert Stevenson, ed. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1929. The National Portrait Gallery. ( The New Oxford Book of Children's Verse. Neil Philip, ed. Oxford University Press, 1996. The New Oxford Book of Romantic Period Verse. Jerome J. McGann. Oxford University Press, 1993. Victorian Parlor Poetry: An Annotated Antholog y. Michael R. Turner, ed. Dover Publications, 1992. Women Romantic Poets, 1785-1832: An Antholog y. Jennifer Breen, ed. J.M. Dent and Sons, 1992.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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