City Readers Digital Historic Collections at the New York Society Library
Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762)
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (baptized 26 May 1689 – 21 August 1762) was an English aristocrat, letter writer and poet. Lady Mary is today chiefly remembered for her letters, particularly her letters from travels to the Ottoman Empire, as wife to the British ambassador to Turkey, which have been described by Billie Melman as "the very first example of a secular work by a woman about the Muslim Orient". Aside from her writing, Lady Mary is also known for introducing and advocating for smallpox inoculation to Britain after her return from Turkey. Her writings usually address and challenge the hindering contemporary social attitudes towards women and their intellectual and social growth.