Hannah More was an English religious writer and philanthropist. She was the second youngest of five sisters, and her father, Jacob More, was a schoolmaster at Stapleton in Gloucestershire. More attended her father's school as a child and began writing plays when she was just 17 years old. Her first sold more than 10,000 copies by 1785. A failed engagement at 22 proved bittersweet--she lost a husband, but gained a £200 annuity for the inconvenience. The financial independence gave her time to write and she eventually became friends with the literary elite of her day, including figures like Elizabeth Montagu, Joshua Reynolds, Edmund Burke, and Samuel Johnson.
More continued to write plays, poetry, essays, and fiction, and published regularly. She gradually became more religious, and more socially minded in her writing, and eventually became associated with evangelicals like William Wilberforce and Zachary Macaulay.
If sheer volume is a measure of greatness, then her most successful works were a run of inexpensive Repository Tracts which she produced with her sisters in the 1790's. The most famous was titled "The Shepherd of Salisbury Plain," and more than two million copies were printed in several languages. She was famous for her commentary on society, piety, and morality, including her stand against slavery. In addition to writing, More was instrumental in setting up several schools and became a model for philanthropists all over England. She died in Clifton in 1833.
(Compiled by Nicholas Castellano)