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Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck

 portrait Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck

Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck in later life

Mary was born into the Galton family of Birmingham in 1778. Her father Samuel Galton jnr. was a member of the Lunar Society. The Galton family had a flourishing business, being in the gun-trade, despite being Quakers. They lived in the new and prosperous suburbs of Birmingham on the edge of the country; Edgbaston, then 'Dudson', then Great Barr. Some of the Galton Family papers can be seen in the Archives and Heritage section of the Central Library.

Mary's memoirs of her early life are a rich source of information about the Galton family, the famous members of the Lunar Society who visited the family frequently, and celebrities of the early nineteenth century. She also writes about slavery, she was an abolitionist and was passionately interested in the anti-slavery movement. In addition Mary gives her views on religion - as an adult she became a Methodist, then a Moravian - on the place of women, and domestic life at the time.

In 1806 Mary married Lambert Schimmelpenninck, a Dutch shipping merchant. She moved to Bristol to be with him there. Unfortunately there was a dispute with the Galton family about her marriage settlement, and eventually they cut off contact. She then began to write to earn money; on topics such as the place of women in society, and religion, including several books about the Roman Catholic reform movement in France in the seventeenth century. She died in 1856.

For further information about Mary Anne Schimmelpenninck see Faces and Places, Birmingham Stories.