Maria Edgeworth was born in Blackbourton, Oxfordshire, England on January 1, 1767. She was educated at a school in Derby, England and then attended a school in London. In 1782, she went to live with her father at Edgeworthstown and acted as his chief assistant and secretary in the management of his estates. She helped educate her brothers and sisters, and the stories she invented for them were later published under the title The Parents Assistant. Her novels and stories fall into three categories: sketches of Irish life, commentary on contemporary English society, and instruction in children's moral training. Her first work, Letters for Literary Ladies, a plea for the reform of woman's education, was published in 1795. She would later collaborate with her father Richard Lovell Edgeworth on Practical Education and Essays on Professional Education. Her first novel, Castle Rackrent, was published in 1800. Her other works include Belinda, Moral Tales, The Absentee, and Helen. During the Irish famine (1845-1847), she did what she could to alleviate the suffering of the Irish peasants including having a large quantity of flour and rice sent over from Boston to give out among the starving. She died in 1849 at the age of 82.