Died: August 3, 1784, Ipswich, Suffolk, England.
Buried: Tacket Street Burial Ground, Ipswich, Suffolk, England.
A domestic servant, Harrison taught herself to read and write. At age 20, she suffered an illness, possibly tuberculosis, from which she did not expect to recover. She gave manuscripts of her poetry to John Conder, a Congregationalist minister, who edited and published her poems.
The preface to the first edition of her collected hymns, Songs in the Night (Ipswich, England: Punchard & Jermyn, 1780), states she was
a very obscure young woman, and quite destitute of the advantages of education, as well as under great bodily affliction. Her father dying when she was young, and leaving a large family unprovided for, she went out to service at sixteen years of age.
Songs in the Night went through at least 21 editions in Britain and America, making it
one of the best selling collections written by a laboring-class poet in the late 18th Century.
This inscription was placed at her grave:
DIED 3D OF AUGUST 1784,
DURING TWELVE YEARS’ AFFLICTION
SHE DISCOVERED A GRACIOUS SPIRIT,
AND WAS THE AUTHOR OF
SONGS IN THE NIGHT
BY WHICH, SHE BEING DEAD, YET SPEAKETH.
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