Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont

       Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont published an anthology for young people--a pioneering work of the kind--called Le Magasin des enfants in 1756, while she was working as a governess in England.  She had left an unhappy marriage in France in 1746.  The arranged union with M. de Beaumont, a "dissolute libertine," had been annulled after only two years, and in England she found a second husband and had several children.  She returned to France in 1762.

    Industrious and very high-minded, Beaumont issued a stream of pedagogical writings, often translating her own French into English for the edification of an audience of upper class girls.  She composed her stories with her pupils in mind, and sometimes invited their colaboration.  The results appeared in English collections such as the Young Ladies' Magazine or Dialogues between a Discreet Governess and Several Young Ladies of the First Rank under Her Education, published in 1760.  Describing her teaching methods, the governess defended her girls' capacity to think for themselves.  She thus made her stories openlly didactic, showing rewards and punishments, and frequently concluded them with overtly Christian messages.

This biography was entirely culled from Marina Warner, From the Beast to the Blonde: On Fairy Tales and Their Tellers (London: Chatto & Windus, 1994), pp. 292-293.