Biography of Anna Sewell

Anna Sewell was born to a Quaker family of East England. Most of her education she received at home. At the age of fourteen she sustained an injury and was for the rest of her life unable to walk or stand for any significant period of time. Instead, she had to walk with the assistance of a crutch, and could barely stand for extended periods of time. In such a situation she took a great loving to horses, driving them or riding them whenever she could. Horse-riding enabled her to remain active and travel about despite her injury. Due to her strong love of horses and the long amounts of time she spent riding, Sewell became quite sensitive to the horse behavior and nature.

Never married, Sewell spent the latter part of her life by her mother's side. She had one younger sibling: a little brother named Philip. She would take care of her mother during this time. The two of them remained very close throughout Anna's lifetime. Together they left the Society of Friends and joined the Church of England, despite the fact that Sewell had been born into a practicing Quaker family.

Writing was a way of expressing this spirituality, and the two lady Sewells' used this medium of writing to great impact. Her mother would write books on religious morals and teachings. She too wrote her one publication, "Black Beauty," in part as an expression of religious sentiment.

The fact that this book was her one publication may come as something of a surprise. Indeed, she did not publish until she was 57 years old. She wrote this novel then, and passed away a short five years later. In these last years of her life, the role of nurse and sick between the two lady Sewell's switched; Anna's mother became the caretaker as Anna was bedridden, feeling utterly weak. For this reason, parts of the book itself was transcribed by her mother.

Study Guides on Works by Anna Sewell

Anna Sewell wrote Black Beauty in 1877. It was to be her first and only book. Sewell, who grew up in Quaker family of north England, was an invalid for most of her life. Since she could not stand for long periods of time, she learned how to ride...