Richard Admiral Lord Howe was one of the great admirals of the Age of Sail, best remembered today for his victory of the Glorious First of June, 1794. He was also a notoriously secretive figure, and his personal papers were lost in the early nineteenth century, with the result that almost no documents relating to his private life have survived him. But the correspondence of his sister, the Hon. Caroline Howe (1722-1814), with her close friend Lady Georgiana Spencer is one of the largest collections of private letters in the British Library. These letters, mined for the first time in a new biography of the eighteenth-century Howe family, The Howe Dynasty: The Untold Story of a Military Family and the Women Behind Britain’s Wars for America, underscore the importance of women’s letters and civilian correspondence as a source for naval and military figures. Caroline Howe was an example of the Georgian phenomenon of politically involved aristocratic women. Her letters not only shed light on the private family life of the Howes, but also the political and career decisions of her brothers, Admiral Howe and General Sir William Howe.
To read the full article Become A Member