Perdita woman: Mary Penington, b.1657


Mary Penington, compiler of Friends House Library Temp. MS 752, was the daughter of Mary Proud Springett Penington, the early Quaker autobiographer, and her second husband, Isaac. Mary's parents were married in 1654 and became publicly associated with the Quakers in 1658. They had three children: John, born 1655; Isaac, born 1656; and Mary, born 1657. John later became a Quaker propagandist, and was responsible for preserving many of the family's papers. Gulielma Springett, daughter of the elder Mary Penington by her first marriage, later married William Penn, the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania.

Little is known of the younger Mary Penington's life. As a child, she was probably taught by the Quaker writer Thomas Ellwood, who spent several years in the Peningtons' household as tutor to their children. The inscription on the inside cover of Temp. MS 752 - 'Mary Penington her Book, being Copies of several papers of friends which she transcribed for her dear Father' - suggests that she acted as her father's amanuensis. Her secretarial services may have been especially useful during the many periods suffered by Isaac Penington on account of his Quaker beliefs.

Mary Penington married Daniel Wharley of London. The 'Nanny Wharley' commemorated in a poem on fol.36r may have been their daughter (fol.36r). The date of her death is unknown.

See also new ODNB entry for her mother: Penington (nee Proude) Mary, 1623-1682.'

Biography by Gillian Wright.

Friends House Library: Temp. MS 752
Transcription of papers, mostly relating to Quakers (c.1670s-1706)
(Compiler, Scribe) Mary Penington, b.1657