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Elizabeth Mary Wright


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(b. 1863).

Born Elizabeth Mary Lea, eldest daughter of an East London and Herefordshire clergyman; after a conventional schooling, she enrolled at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, in 1887, where she attended classes in Old English given by Professor Joseph Wright, under whose supervision she prepared a grammar of the dialect of Northumbria, and whom she later married. She assisted Joseph with his books on grammar and worked closely with him on his monumental English Dialect Dictionary (1896–1905). She had, in fact, already encountered this sort of material—‘My father was greatly interested in folk-lore and dialect, and would expound to us superstitions he had come across in his pastoral visits’—and she published, in her own right, Rustic Speech and Folk-Lore (1913), an excellent book packed full of astute personal observation and knowledge and unusual for its time as not being confined to one particular region. After her husband's death in 1930, she published a two-volume biography, The Life of Joseph Wright (1932), which also gives many details of her own life.


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