Juliana Horatia Ewing

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Juliana Horatia Ewing
Juliana Horatia Ewing
Born (1841-08-03)3 August 1841
Ecclesfield, Sheffield, England
Died 13 May 1885(1885-05-13) (aged 43)
Bath, Somerset, England
Occupation Writer
Nationality English
Period 19th century
Genre Children's literature

Juliana Horatia Ewing (née Gatty) (3 August 1841 – 13 May 1885) was an English writer of children's stories.[1]

Youth and marriage

Known as Julie, she was the second of ten children of the Reverend Alfred Gatty, vicar of Ecclesfield in Yorkshire, and Margaret Gatty, who was herself a children's author. The children were educated mainly by her mother, but Julie was often the driving force behind their various activities: drama, botany etc. Later she was responsible for setting up a village library in Ecclesfield and helped out in the parish with her three sisters. Early stories appeared in Charlotte Yonge's magazine Monthly Packet.[2]

On 1 June 1867, she was married to Major Alexander Ewing (1830–1895) of the army pay department, also a keen churchgoer, who shared his wife's interest in literature. Within a week of their marriage, Ewing left England for Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, where her husband had received a new posting. They remained there for two years, before returning to England in 1869 and spending eight years in the army town of Aldershot. Rudyard Kipling claimed to know her novel Jan of the Windmill (1872-3, 1876) almost by heart. Her story The Brownies (1865) gave the Baden-Powells the idea and the name for the junior level of the Girl Guides. Another admirer of her work was E. Nesbit. [3]

Though her husband was sent overseas again, to Malta in 1879 and Sri Lanka in 1881, Ewing's poor health would not allow her to accompany him. They moved to Trull, Somerset, on his return in 1883, and in 1885, to Bath, in the hopes that the change of air would do her good. However, her health continued to deteriorate, and after two operations, she died there on 13 May 1885.[2] She was given a military funeral at Trull three days later.

Her sister Horatia Katharine Frances Gatty (1846-1945) published a memorial of Julie's life and works, Juliana Horatia Ewing and Her Books London: Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 1885. It contains a useful publication history of her stories. Leaves from Juliana Horatia Ewing's "Canada Home.", edited by Elizabeth S. Tucker (Boston: Roberts Brothers, 1896) includes some of Julie's letters and drawings about Canada. A biography of her by Gillian Avery appeared in 1961 (London: Bodley Head).


Roger Lancelyn Green calls her works the "first outstanding child-novels" in English literature.[4] Her works are notable for their sympathetic insight into child life, their admiration for things military, and their reflection of her strong Anglican faith. They include Mrs. Overtheway's Remembrances (1869), A Flat Iron for a Farthing (1872), Six to Sixteen (1875), Jackanapes (1884), Daddy Darwin's Dovecot (1884),[5] and The Story of a Short Life (1885).

A talented artist herself, her works were frequently illustrated by such notables as George Cruikshank and Randolph Caldecott. She was also the editor of a number of magazines which published short stories for children, such as the Nursery Magazines from 1856 onwards, the Monthly Packet and the monthly Aunt Judy's Magazine from 1866.


  1. ODNB entry by Susan Drain retrieved 10 January 2015
  2. 2.0 2.1 Barnett 1889.
  3. Drain 2004.
  4. Green, Roger Lancelyn (1980). "The Golden Age of Children's Books". In Egoff, Sheila; Stubbs, G. T.; Ashley, L. F. (eds.). Only Connect: readings on children's literature (Second ed.). New York: Oxford University Press. p. 8. ISBN 0195403096.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Dated from copy [D] advertisement for Jackanapes on lower cover: the thirty-fourth thousand edition of Jackanapes."--Victoria and Albert Museum, Copac


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