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Helen Maria Williams (1761–1827)
image id: ps_cps_cd6_093

Unknown artist
Helen Maria Williams (1761–1827)
Stipple engraving
London: Dean and Munday, 1816
NYPL, The Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle

Helen Maria Williams, a poet and novelist, crossed the Channel in time to celebrate the first Bastille Day, July 14, 1790, and settled permanently in France. Her Paris home quickly became the social center for English-speaking expatriates. Many of her French friends, political moderates like herself, were guillotined during the 1793 Terror; Williams was imprisoned and then moved temporarily to Switzerland. She began publishing eyewitness accounts of French life and history in 1790, and continued them throughout her life.

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