Margaret Bryan (philosopher)

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Margaret Bryan (fl. 1815) was a British natural philosopher and educator, and the author of standard scientific textbooks.

Engraving of Bryan and children

The year of Bryan's birth is uncertain, probably before 1760. Her published works are dated 1797 to 1815.[1] Bryan was a beautiful and talented schoolmistress, and the wife of a Mr. Bryan. In 1797 she published in quarto, by subscription, a Compendious System of Astronomy, with a portrait of herself and two daughters as a frontispiece, the whole engraved by Nutter from a miniature by Samuel Shelley. Mrs. Bryan dedicated her book to her pupils. The lectures of which the book consisted had been praised by Charles Hutton, then at Woolwich.[2] An octavo edition of the work was issued later. The Critical Review printed her reply to what she saw as a damaging article in that journal.[1]

In 1806 Mrs. Bryan published, also by subscription, and in quarto, Lectures on Natural Philosophy (thirteen lectures on hydrostatics, optics, pneumatics, and acoustics), with a portrait of the author, engraved by Heath, after a painting by T. Kearsley; and there is a notice in it that "Mrs. Bryan educates young ladies at Blackheath." In 1815 Mrs. Bryan produced an Astronomical and Geographical Class Book for Schools, a thin octavo. Conversations on Chemistry, published anonymously in 1806, is also ascribed to her by Watt[3] and in the Biographical Dictionary of Living Authors (1816), but is in fact a book by Jane Marcet.

Mrs. Bryan's school appears to have been situated at one time at Blackheath, at another at 27 Lower Cadogan Place, near Hyde Park Corner, and lastly at Margate.


  1. ^ a b Brown, Susan; Patricia Clements; Isobel Grundy. "Margaret Bryan". Orlando Project. Cambridge. Retrieved 23 December 2010. 
  2. ^ Preface, p. xi
  3. ^ Bibl. Brit.

 Humphreys, Jennett (1885–1900). "Bryan, Margaret". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co.