George Ballard (biographer)

George Ballard (c. 1706 – June 1755) was an English antiquary and biographer, the author of Memoirs of British Ladies (1752).


Ballard was born at Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. Self-educated, Ballard taught himself Saxon while working in a habit-maker's shop, and attracted the attention of the Saxon scholar Elizabeth Elstob. Lord Chedworth and other local gentleman provided him with an annuity of £60 a year, enabling Ballard to move to Oxford to use the Bodleian Library. Dr. Jenner appointed him a clerk of Magdalen College, Oxford, and he subsequently became a university beadle.

Ballard died young, and his only printed publication was Memoirs of several ladies of Great Britain, who have been celebrated for their writings, or skill in the learned languages, arts and sciences (1752). This quarto volume was published by subscription, and dedicated to Sarah Talbot of Kineton, the wife of the clergyman William Talbot of Kineton who had helped him receive patronage as a young man, and Mary Delany. The first woman treated by Ballard's Memoirs was Juliana of Norwich; the last was Constantia Grierson (1704/5–1732).

Ballard left a large manuscript collection, and his substantial correspondence, to the Bodleian.

Subjects of Memoirs of British Ladies

This is a list of the women who are treated in George Ballard's book Memoirs of British Ladies. Ballard provided memoirs for over 60 women, presenting them in chronological order.


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