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Anna Sewell (1820 - 1878)

Sewell, Anna

Anna Sewell was born on March 30th, 1820 in Yarmouth, Norfolk, England, the daughter of a writer and a bank manager, both devoted Quakers. Following an accident as a child, Anna became crippled and experienced ill health most of her life. She got around by using horse-drawn carriages. Sewell's mother, a successful writer of juvenile fiction, allowed Sewell to edit her texts.

"I never yet could make out why men are so fond of this sport; they often hurt themselves, often spoil good horses, and tear up the fields, and all for a hare, or a fox, or a stag, that they could get more easily some other way; but we are only horses, and don't know." (Black Beauty)

Sewell began writing her first and only book, Black Beauty (1877), while bedridden. Told from the horses' perspective, Sewell wrote the book with hopes of changing the public's attitude about the cruelty that was regularly inflicted on horses at the time of the book's writing.

"We call them dumb animals, and so they are, for they cannot tell us how they feel, but they do not suffer less because they have no words." ( Black Beauty)

She died on April 25th, 1878 in Old Catton, Norfolk.

Suggested sites for Anna Sewell:

Encyclopedia article about Anna Sewell
Texts by Sewell
Black Beauty
The life of horse told by the animal, itself, that begins in squalor and ends in happiness.

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