chapter  3
16 Pages

Finding Anonymous

Further discoveries in Mary Hays’s Female Biography
WithKoren Whipp

In 2009, Jennie Batchelor, editor of the Chawton House Library, commissioned Gina Luria Walker to edit the first modern edition of Mary Hays's Female Biography. The project required a detailed knowledge of Hays and her works and a specialized knowledge of the approximately 300 subjects of Hays's biographies. Recognizing that the reexamination of Hays's subjects would be best served by organizing specialists to produce the volumes, Walker created the Female Biography Project. The 2013 Chawton House Library edition of Female Biography aimed to enhance and expand Hays's original research, which included the search for validation and substantiation of Hays's sources. The ambiguity of her 'Anonymous' entry, and the dubious existence of the women themselves, proved to be one of the most challenging and puzzling aspects of the project.