Frances Browne was an author who was a native of Co Donegal, Ireland. Despite being blind from a young age she became a successful poet and novelist during the Victorian era. Her work appeared in several publications during her lifetime. She was awarded a civil pension of £100 by Sir Robert Peel.
Frances Browne was born in Stranorlar Co Donegal, Ireland in 1816. One of a family of twelve children she lost her sight before the age of two due to smallpox. She learned what she heard by heart especially the lessons which her brothers and sisters said aloud each evening.
Her first collection of poems, which included ‘Songs of Our Land’ was published in 1841 in the Irish Penny Journal and the London Athenauem. Her poems and short stories continued to be published and she became known as ‘The Blind Poetess of Ulster’.
Accompanied by her sister who was her reader and amanuensis, Frances Browne moved to Edinburgh in 1847. In Edinburgh she continued her literary work including making contributions to women’s magazines. She moved to London in 1852 where her most famous work, ‘Granny’s Wonderful Chair’ was published. In 1856 she published ‘Pictures and Songs of Home’, a volume of poetry about growing up in Donegal. Her final poem ‘The Children’s Day’ was published shortly before her death at the age of 63 on August 21st 1879.
Frances Browne, poet and novelist, was born in Stranorlar, Co Donegal, Ireland in the year 1816 On This Day.
Image from page 36 of “Granny’s wonderful chair and its tales of fairy times” (1916) by Internet Archive Book Images