“The Duchess” Who Wasn’t Day celebrates the life of Margaret Wolfe Hungerford, an irish novelist who was always published under the pen name “The Duchess” in the United States – also the name of her most popular novel, published in 1887. Margaret is responsible for the popular phrase “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”, in her book Molly Bawn, so try and slip it into conversation!
In total, The Duchess had at least 57 works attributed to her name but could have written many, many more as a lot of her early work was published as Anonymous, and later as Mrs Hungerford, before “The Duchess” became popular in the States. She also wrote many newspaper articles and had a large family – four daughters and two sons.
Born on the 27th April 1855 in County Cork, she won prizes in school for writing stories. After the death of her first husband in 1876 The Duchess took to writing more seriously to support her three daughters, and it was shortly after this that her first book “Phyllis” was written, and a little later on “Molly Bawn”.
She remarried in 1882, had two sons and a daughter with her second husband and eventually died of typhoid fever in 1897.