Image of Frances Trollope


Lifetime: 1779 - 1863 Passed: ≈ 160 years ago





Frances Trollope

Frances Milton Trollope, also known as Fanny Trollope, was an English novelist and writer who published as Mrs. Trollope or Mrs. Frances Trollope. Her first book, Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832) is the best known. She also wrote social novels: one against slavery said to have influenced Harriet Beecher Stowe, the first industrial novel, and two anti-Catholic novels that used a Protestant position to examine self-making. Some recent scholars note how modernist critics exclude women writers such as Frances Trollope from consideration. In 1839, The New Monthly Magazine claimed, "No other author of the present day has been at once so read, so much admired, and so much abused". Two of her sons, Thomas Adolphus and Anthony, became writers. Her daughter-in-law Frances Eleanor Trollope (née Ternan), second wife of Thomas Adolphus Trollope, was also a novelist. 

Born at Stapleton, Bristol, Frances was the third daughter and middle child of the Reverend William Milton and Mary Milton (née Gresley). Frances's mother died in childbirth when Frances was five years old. Her father was remarried to Sarah Partington of Clifton in 1800. She was baptised at St Michael's, Bristol, on 17 March 1779. As a child, Frances read a great amount of English, French and Italian literature. She and her sister later moved to Bloomsbury, London, in 1803 to live with their brother, Henry Milton, who was employed in the War Office. 

In London, she met Thomas Anthony Trollope, a barrister, and at the age of 30, married him on 23 May 1809 in Heckfield, Hampshire. They had four sons and three daughters: Thomas Adolphus, Henry, Arthur, Emily (who died in a day), Anthony, Cecilia and Emily. When the Trollopes moved to a leased farm at Harrow-on-the-Hill in 1817, they faced financial struggles for lack of agricultural expertise. This was where Frances gave birth to her last two children. 


Soon after the move to the leased farm, her marital and financial strains led Frances to seek companionship and aid from Fanny Wright, ward of the French hero Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette. In 1824 she visited La Grange, Lafayette's estate in France. Over the next three years, she made several other visits to France and was inspired to take an American excursion with Wright. Frances thought of America as a simple economic venture and figured that she could save money by sending her children through Wright's communal school, as Wright had planned to reform the education of African American children and the formerly enslaved on their property in Tennessee. In 1827, Frances Trollope took most of her family to Fanny Wright's utopian community, Nashoba Commune, in the United States. Her husband and remaining family followed shortly after. 


Arriving in the United States four years earlier than her husband, she was able to develop an intimate relationship with Auguste Hervieu, a collaborator in her venture, and moved to Cincinnati, Ohio with her sons after the community failed. She also encouraged the sculptor Hiram Powers to do Dante Alighieri's Commedia in waxworks. 


From her return at the age of 50 until her death, her need of an income for her family and escape her debts led her to begin writing novels, memoirs of her travels, and other shorter pieces, while travelling around Europe. She became well acquainted with elites and figures of Victorian literature including Elizabeth Barrett, Robert Browning, Charles Dickens, Joseph Henry Green and R. W. Thackeray (a relative of William Makepeace Thackeray). She wrote 40 books: six travelogues, 35 novels, countless controversial articles, and poems. In 1843, Frances visited Italy and eventually moved to Florence permanently.

Books by Frances Trollope

 Domestic Manners of the Americans Cover image

Domestic Manners of the Americans

Non-Fiction Travel
Social Science Culture Customs Geography

Domestic Manners of the Americans is a 2-volume 1832 travel book by Frances Milton Trollope, which follows her travels through America and her residence in Cincinnati, at the time still a frontier town. The text now resides in the public domain.

A Charming Fellow  Cover image

A Charming Fellow

Marriage Exploration Criticism General Fiction

A scathing criticism of social climbing underlies this unsettling story by Frances Eleanor Trollope, sister-in-law to Anthony and daughter-in-law to Frances Milton Trollope. Published in 1876, A Charming Fellow is a serious exploration of a bitterly...

Petticoat Government, Volume 1 Cover image

Petticoat Government, Volume 1

Fiction Humour Novel
Power Historical Fiction Victorian Society Relationships Empowerment Women Rights Gender Equality

Step into a world of intrigue and social satire as you delve into "Petticoat Government, Volume 1" by Frances Milton Trollope. In this captivating tale, the boundaries of power and gender are challenged, unveiling a society where women wield unexpect...

Petticoat Government, volume 2 Cover image

Petticoat Government, volume 2

Fiction History Humour
Governments Power Politics Satire Rebellion social commentary

In the heart of the bustling 19th-century English countryside, where society's norms often take a back seat, Frances Milton Trollope weaves a tale of power, politics, and the indomitable spirit of women. Step into a world where petticoats rule and t...

Petticoat Government, Volume 3 Cover image

Petticoat Government, Volume 3

Family Love Historical Fiction Loss Family Life England Social Change Resilience

Dive into a world where roles are reversed, and women wield the scepter of power. In "Petticoat Government, Volume 3" by Frances Milton Trollope, an unconventional and fascinating narrative unfolds. Brace yourself for a journey through a society turn...

The Widow Barnaby Cover image

The Widow Barnaby

Fiction Novel
Family Love Widow Happiness Materialism Wealth Ambition Human Nature

Meet Mrs. Barnaby, a widow with a secret and a thirst for social status. Her quest for a wealthy husband takes her from the country to the city, where she encounters a cast of colorful characters and embarks on a series of misadventures. The Widow B...

The Widow Married: A Sequel to The Widow Barnaby Cover image

The Widow Married: A Sequel to The Widow Barnaby

Fiction Novel
Love Mystery Intelligence Adventure Kindness Challenges Life Adversity

What if the widow Barnaby found love again, despite all the obstacles in her way? The Widow Married: A Sequel to The Widow Barnaby is a charming and heartwarming novel by Frances Milton Trollope. The story follows the adventures of the widowed Mrs....

The Barnaby's in America: Final sequel to The Widow Barnaby Cover image

The Barnaby's in America: Final sequel to The Widow Barnaby

Fiction Novel
Widow Spirit Mystery Struggle America Democracy United States Immersive Complex

Across the vast Atlantic, the eccentric Barnaby family embarks on a whirlwind adventure to the bustling shores of America. Join them as they navigate the unfamiliar customs, landscapes, and social dynamics of the New World, encountering a kaleidoscop...