Barbara Hofland was an English writer of some 66 didactic, moral stories for children, and of schoolbooks and poetry. She was asked by John Soane to write a description of his still extant museum in London's Lincoln's Inn Fields.
Born Barbara Wreaks or Wreakes, her father Robert Wreakes was a Sheffield manufacturer, but he died when she was three and she was raised by a maiden aunt. She began writing for the local paper and started a milliner's shop, but she sold it when she married the businessman Thomas Bradshawe Hoole in 1796, only to be widowed two years later with an infant son.
During her writing life, Hofland became a friend of the architect John Soane, who asked her to provide a description of his museum in Lincoln's Inn Fields and of the writers Maria Edgeworth and Mary Russell Mitford. Her first story, The History of an Officer's Widow earned her £6 from John Harris, a London publisher. One of her many popular books was The Blind Farmer and His Children Her most popular children's book was The Son of a Genius, about an impulsive artist, which may contain autobiographical elements. It had been reprinted at least 14 times in England by 1841, as well as nine times in America, and in translations into French and other languages. Most of her works depict the struggles of a Christian family against hardships. Hofland's Tales of the Priory Tales of the Manor and Self-Denial can be read online, as can The Young Crusoe and a number of others. She also wrote geographical and topographical books for teaching purposes, and a longer work in verse.
Books by Barbara Hofland
The Young Crusoe, or The Shipwrecked Boy (1829) Novel. At the novel's opening, Charles Crusoe, thirteen years of age, asks his mother if he is related to the famous Robinson Crusoe, and is told that he is not. His future adventures, however, strongly...