The Mary Hays manuscript material in the Pforzheimer Collection consists of 26 letters to the philosopher and novelist William Godwin; 7 letters to the writer and translator William Tooke; 1 letter to an unidentified recipient; and a manuscript volume containing a hand-copied 102 letter chain of corrrespondence between Hays and John Eccles, her fiancé who died weeks before their planned marriage. All items are published in Marilyn L. Brooks's edition of Mary Hays's letters.
Biographical/historical: Mary Hays, English writer. Active in London radical and dissenting circles in the end of the eighteenth-century, Hays was a protégée of the pioneer feminist Mary Wollstonecraft and the anarchist philosopher William Godwin. Perhaps best known for her semi-autobiographical Memoirs of Emma Courtney, Hays also wrote children’s books, and a pamphlet arguing against the Biblical justifications of sexism, Appeal to the Men of Great Britain in behalf of Women (1798).