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Lucy Peacock (fl. 1785–1816), was a British author, editor, translator, bookseller and publisher of children's books during the late eighteenth century. She wrote a number of books, many anonymously, for children and young adults. Possibly she was married or perhaps in partnership with one or members of her family, since 'R. and L. Peacock,' and 'A. and L. Peacock' published a number of items at the Juvenile Library, No. 259, Oxford-Street from at least 1796 to 1810.
Lucy Peacock was born in Yorkshire, England, in 1768. She was christened on June 12, 1768. Her parents were Abraham and Jane Peacock, and it is unknown if she had any other siblings or children. In fact, very little is known about Peacock outside of her works. It is possible that the 'A. Peacock' that she co-authored with was her father, Abraham Peacock. In her life, she wrote and adapted stories for children and young adults to teach them about life and morality [Temes 242].
She spent a large portion of her life in and around England, though it is uncertain where or how she knew the French language well enough to translate it, where she was educated, or where she died. The dedication of her work The adventures of the six princesses of Babylon June 1785, gives her address as 'Lambeth'.
Lucy Peacock's most famous books:
- The Adventures of the Six Princesses of Babylon in Their Travels to the Temple of Virtue: an allegory, (an adaptation for children of Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queene), (1785);
- The Rambles of Fancy, or, Moral and Interesting Tales and Friendly Labours, (1786);
- Martin & James or the Reward of Integrity, a Moral Tale Designed for the Improvement of Children, (1791);
- The Knight of the Rose – an allegorical tale, (1793);
- The Visit for a Week, – a didactic tale, (1794);
- Pastorals in prose. Or, moral tales, for the amusement of youth, (c.1795);
- The Little Emigrant, a Tale. Interspersed with Moral Anecdotes and Instructive Conversations, (1799);
- The Life of a Bee. Related by Herself, (adapted from Noël-Antoine Pluche, Spectacle de la nature), (c.1800);
- Patty Primrose, or, The Parsonage House, (1810);
- Friendly Labours or, Tales and Dramas for the Amusement and Instruction of Youth, (Brentford, 1815);
- Emily, or, The Test of Sincerity, (1816).
Peacock published her first story, The Adventures of the Six Princesses of Babylon, anonymously at seventeen years old. Five editions of The Adventures of the Six Princesses of Babylon were 'printed for the author', the early ones by subscription. Later editions were dedicated, by permission, to Princess Mary. This was translated into German by Albrecht Wittenberg and published in Hamburg in 1787. The Visit for a Week, was her most popular work, running into ten editions by 1823. It was translated into French in 1817 by J. E. Lefebvre.
She translated François Ducray-Duminil's Robinsonade, Lolotte et Fanfan, into English as 'Ambrose and Eleanor; or, The Adventures of Two Children Deserted on an Uninhabited Island,' in 1796. This went through several editions in the UK and US. In 1802, she translated Historical Grammar, and in 1807, she translated and published A Chronological Abridgment of Universal History, both by Maturin Veyssière La Croze.
During 1788 Lucy edited The Juvenile Magazine; or, An instructive and entertaining miscellany for youth of both sexes, for the publisher John Marshall. This periodical included contributions by Dorothy Kilner (M.P.) and Mary Ann Kilner(S.S.) as well as her own tales.
- Todd, Janet M. A Dictionary of British and American women writers, 1660-1800. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 1987.
- Rivers, David. Literary Memoirs of Living Authors of Great Britain Arranged According to an Alphabetical Catalogue of Their Names... R. Faulder, 1798, pp. 118-19.
- Lee, Sidney, ed. "Lucy Peacock." Dictionary of National Biography. 44. London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1895.
- Hayton, David W. "Oxford dictionary of national biography." (2010).
- English Short-title catalogue;
- A list of her publications was given in A chronological abridgment of universal history c. 1800.
- Maxted, Ian. Exeter Working Papers in Book History. https://bookhistory.blogspot.com/2007/01/london-1775-1800-p-q.html
- Hillman, William. Ambrose and Eleanor; or the Adventures Of Two Children, Deserted on an Uninhabited Island. http://www.erbzine.com/mag18/ambrose.htm
- Maxted, Ian (11 January 2007). "Exeter Working Papers in Book History: London 1775-1800: P-Q". Exeter Working Papers in Book History. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
- "Ancestry Library Edition". search.ancestrylibrary.com. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
- "Lucy Peacock: The Adventures of the Six Princesses of Babylon". spenserians.cath.vt.edu. Retrieved 2 October 2018.