Mary Ann Kelty

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Mary Ann Kelty
Died8 January 1873

Mary Ann Kelty (1789 – 8 January 1873) was a British religious writer. She is said to have written the first religious novel.


Kelty was born in Cambridge in 1789. Her father was a surgeon who rapidly became estranged from his wife. As a result, Kelty received her education from friends of her brother who was a senior fellow of Cambridge University.[1]

Kelty's first novels were published in America, Britain and Europe in the 1820s.[2] Kelty's parent's died in 1822 which was the same year as The Favourite of Nature, a tale was published. This was said to be the first religious novel.[3]

Kelty became more religious and she was intrigued by the ideas of the evangelist Charles Simeon; and towards the end of her life by the Quakers. She left her home city behind and moved to her final address of Peckham in 1832.[1]

Kelty included the Cambridge historian Professor William Smyth in her memoir Reminiscences of Thought and Feeling as "the professor".[4]

Kelty died in Peckham in 1873.

Works include[edit]

  • The Favourite of Nature, a tale, 1822
  • Osmond: A Tale
  • Trials: A Tale
  • The Story of Isabel
  • Alice Rivers
  • Reminiscences of Thought and Feeling
  • The Solace of a Solitaire: A Record of Facts and Feelings, 1869


  1. ^ a b Paul Baines, ‘Kelty, Mary Ann (1789–1873)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 6 Dec 2014
  2. ^ Mary Ann Kelty, Orlando project, Cambridge University, retrieved 6 December 2014
  3. ^ Martineau, Harriett (2006). Autobiography. Broadview Press. p. 322. ISBN 1770480749.
  4. ^ William Smyth,