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At the Circulating Library

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

A Database of Victorian Fiction, 1837–1901

Author: Augusta Johnstone

Author: Augusta Johnstone (1818–1889)

Alternate Name(s): Mary Anne Augusta Johnstone (legal name)

Biography: Mary Anne Augusta Johnstone was born in 1818 in London, the daughter of musician and actor Thomas Oswald Johnstone and his wife Mary. She spent several years on stage at the Royal Grecian Theatre, London before turning to teaching music and singing including stints as a daily governess. According to her later applications to the Royal Literary Fund, she supported her aged and infirm parents from the 1850s onward. As a way to supplement her teaching income, she began contributing essays and stories to periodicals including Chambers's Edinburgh Journal, the Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, and Once a Week. An ardent advocate for women's rights, she wrote the book A Woman's Preachings for Woman's Practice (1857) as well as worked towards women's suffrage. She applied successfully to the RLF three times but was rejected the fourth time. Her later years were spent in poverty in London. An unexpected visit by an old friend in March 1889 caused her aorta to rupture from the excitement, killing her instantly.

Author Tags:

References: British Census (1851, 1861); Islington Gazette (2 April 1889); pers inf (Ann Dingsdale); RLF (case number 1486)

Fiction Titles:

  1. Recollections of Mrs. Hester Taffetas, Court Milliner and Modiste: During the Reign of King George the Third and his Consort Queen Charlotte.  1 vol.  London: Knight and Son, 1857.
  2. A Few out of Thousands: Their Sayings and Doings.  1 vol.  London: Groombridge, 1859.