Mary (Wollstonecraft) Godwin

Mary (Wollstonecraft) Godwin (1759 - 1797)

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Mary Godwin formerly Wollstonecraft
Born in Spitalfields, Greater London, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married [date unknown] [location unknown]
Descendants descendants
Died in St. Pancras Old Church, Middlesex, Englandmap
Profile last modified 29 Dec 2019 | Created 9 Dec 2014
This page has been accessed 1,508 times.
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Mary (Wollstonecraft) Godwin is Notable.

Family Members


Father: Edward John Wollstonecraft (1736 – 1803)
Mother: Elizabeth Dixon (1729 – 1882)
  1. Edward Wollstonecraft (1757-aft 1807)
  2. Mary Wollstonecraft (1759-1797)
  3. Henry Woodstock Wollstonecraft, b. 8 Jan 1761
  4. Elizabeth "Eliza" Wollstonecraft (1763-abt 1829)
  5. Everina Wollstonecraft (1765-1843)
  6. James Wollstonecraft (abt 1768-1806)
  7. Charles Wollstonecraft (abt 1770-1817)

Spouse & Children

❏ Spouse: Gilbert Imlay (1754 – 1828)
  1. Fanny (Frances) Imlay (1794 – 1816)

Spouse & Children

❏ Spouse: William Godwin (1756 – 1836)
  1. Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (1797 – 1861)

Mary Wollstonecraft was born April 27, 1759[1]. Her parents, John Edward Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Dickson, had six children. Edward was older than Mary, James, Charles, Eliza, and Everina were all younger.

Mary Wollstonecraft's early life was one of dwindling fortune and frequent upheaval. Mary's position as the oldest daughter, put her in charge of 4 younger siblings, who were more than their mother's frail health could manage. This responsibility, coupled with regular moves (8 times in 19 years) to follow her father's unsuccessful attempts to make money, served to deprive Mary of security or confidence that a man would take care of her.

Mary worked at various things before she established herself as an author.

Her first "position" was as a traveling companion to a Widow Dawson of Bath. She maintained this position from 1778 until she was called home to nurse her mother in 1781.

In 1784, Mary opened a school at Newington Green in Islington with her two sisters and her friend, Fanny Blood. Fanny left to marry and moved to Lisbon. During Fanny's pregnancy she sent for Mary. Upon Mary's return to the school in 1786, she found the school had declined in her absence and she was forced to shut it down..

Still in keeping with an educational trend, Mary became a governess to the daughters of Viscount Kingsborough in 1786. She wrote her first book while working as a governess, but she was dismissed in 1787.

In 1788, Mary began to work for her publisher, Joseph Johnson, first as a translator and then as a reviewer for his monthly periodical, The Analytical Review.

Although she wrote quite a bit, her first real success as an author came in 1790, when A Vindication of the Rights of Men was published. She was then firmly established as an author.

Her writings include:

  • Thoughts on the Education of Daughters (1786).
  • Mary, a Fiction (1788).
  • Original Stories from Real Life, a children's book. (1788).
  • Jacques Necker's On The Importance Of Religious Opinions, translated by Wollstonecraft. (1788).
  • Christian Gotthilf Salzmann's Elements Of Morality For The Use Of Children, translated by Wollstonecraft. (1788).
  • Begins work as a reviewer for "The Analytical Review". (1788).
  • The Female Reader compiled by Wollstonecraft. (1789).
  • Vindication Of The Rights Of Men (1790).
  • Vindication Of The Rights Of Woman (1792).
  • An Historical and Moral View of the origin and progress of the French Revolution (1794).
  • Letters Written During a Short Residence in Norway, Denmark and Sweden (1796).
  • MARIA or The Wrongs of Woman (1797).
  • Essay "On Poetry" (1797).
  • Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman (published 1798).

In her thirty-eight years, Mary Wollstonecraft had two great loves, each of whom she bore a daughter.

The first was American, Gilbert Imlay, with whom she was involved from 1793 until 1795[2]

The second was, fellow intellectual, William Godwin. Her relationship with Godwin began in 1796[3] and lasted until her death. During that time Godwin and Wollstonecraft married.


  1. Source: Wikipedia.en
  2. Source: Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22
  3. Source: London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812
  1. Source: Ancestral Family Trees: This citation provides evidence for Mary Wollstonecraft
  2. Source: Chalmers' General Biographical Dictionary: 1 citation provides evidence for Name, Death, Birth
  3. Source: Dictionary of National Biography, Volumes 1-20, 22: 1 citation provides evidence for Name, Death, Birth
  4. Source: London, England, Baptisms, Marriages and Burials, 1538-1812: 1 citation provides evidence for Name, Death, Burial
  5. Source: London, England, Deaths and Burials, 1813-1980: 1 citation provides evidence for Name, Death, Birth, Burial, Residence
  6. Source: Mary Wollstonecraft. Wikipedia.en. URL: [1]

  • Also see:
Place sources here:
Edward John WOLLSTONECRAFT / Elizabeth DIXON
The History Guide: Lectures on Modern European Intellectual History: Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759-1797

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Comments: 4

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Hi Lynden, England Project account added to this profile as well. Thanks!
posted by Gillian Thomas
Hello Lynden, the England Project would like to take on the management of this project protected profile, as per About Project Protection. Please contact me if you would like to discuss, otherwise I'll proceed in a week or so. Thank you.
posted by Gillian Thomas
Also, I don't think Mary ever used the last name "Shelley" - that was her daughter. This Mary's last name would be Godwin (who she married).
posted by Scott Fulkerson
Based on the information in her bio and on wiki, she is the daughter of Edward John Wollstonecraft and Elizabeth Dixon. However, the parents in her profile are what appear to be her grandparents. I suspect we need to change her father to Wollstonecraft-2 and add Elizabeth Dixon. Please let me know if you see this the same way or if I'm missing something. I can remove the PPP if we need to change parents. Thanks.
posted by Scott Fulkerson

Mary is 22 degrees from Donald Howard, 16 degrees from Julia Howe and 14 degrees from Henry VIII of England on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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