Small image of a man handing a book to a women across a counter.

At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Anna Mary Sparrow

Author: Anna Mary Sparrow (1858–1944)

Alternate Name(s): T. Sparrow (pseudonym)

Biography: Anna Mary Sparrow was born in Woodfold Park, Lancashire (near Blackburn), the daughter of John and Frances Sparrow. Her father owned a cotton mill and she enjoyed a comfortable childhood. The family suffered financial reversals, so Sparrow moved to London in the 1880s and turned to writing to support herself. Under the pseudonym "T. Sparrow" (the initial stood for her nickname "Tissie") she began contributing to periodicals, including the Catholic magazines The Lamp and The Month. During this period, she published three books: the religious pamphlet Life as We Live it (1885), the historical novel Olympias (1889), and the children's story Tom in a Tangle (1890). None made much mark with the public, so Sparrow turned to journalism at which she initially excelled, appearing in a wide range of newspapers and magazines. In particular, she went undercover in various lower-class neighborhoods and occupations. By the turn of the century, she worked as a subeditor for various periodicals. However, by 1913, she lived in poverty due to poor eyesight and hearing supported by her brother. The Royal Literary Fund rejected her application for help due to lack of literary merit. She died in 1944 in London.

Author Tags:

References: British Census (1881, 1911); RLF (case number 2916); Laura Vorachek, "How Little I Cared for Fame: T. Sparrow and Women's Investigative Journalism at the Fin de Siècle," Victorian Periodicals Review 49 (2016): 333-61.

Fiction Titles:

  1. Olympias.  1 vol.  London: Remington, 1889.