Harriet Martineau

By Amber Ashley

"Readers are plentiful: thinkers are rare."

The significance of this quote is the fact that she explains how anyone can read something and comprehend it but thinking about it and expanding upon it is extremely rare.


Harriet Martineau was born on June 12th,1802 in Norwich,England. She grew up in a Unitarian faith family. As a child,Harriet's mother was very cold and she often felt her mothers negative comments. Therefore,making her childhood very unhappy and neglectful. She also was deaf,which was one reason why her mother struggled to take care of her. She was also educated at home by her older sisters.

Family Life

Harriet's parents were Elizabeth and Thomas Martineau. Martineau's father owned a textile mill and her mother stayed at home to care for eight children. Martineau was the sixth of eight children. When Harriet turned 16,her deafness accumulates to the point where she leaves her home to travel to Bristol with her aunt. Even though she was deaf,her brother,Thomas,encouraged her to write. Maritneau loved her all of her brothers and sisters,especially James and Ellen.She became very interested in how they grow and developed.Even the interactions between them seem to amaze her more than ever. Although, Martineau was never married,she stayed contempt to her studies and religious beliefs.


As an adult,Martineau took a fascination in sociology. Mainly, economically and politically keened to her abilities. She was considered the "Mother of Sociology." In fact,some of Martineaus accomplishments were actually great God-given gifts. She had the ability to make economic and social ideas comprehensible to many people. Martineau explained difficult ideas by creating stories that connect to the concept. She also expanded upon the idea of methodology for studying sociology. It's even used today by many sociologists! Also,she was one of the first women to write about womens roles and rights in society. In 1830,the Unitarian Association awarded Martineau with three essay prizes. Martineau even wrote 37 books! One of which,called,"Deerbrook," was the most popular novel.


Martineau faced immense obstacles and challenges. This includes her being blind her entire life. Because of her being a Victorian woman at the time, she was profoundly stereotyped by society. She played an important role in the womens rights movement and the abolitionist movement. Because she observed society,she wrote many books for each problem that society possessed.


Harriet Martineau died of bronchitis on June 27th,1876 near Ambleside,United Kingdom. She was buried with her family in Key Holl Cemetery,Birmingham.
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Other Facts

Martineau was very remarkable and admirable. She had a talent of explaining difficult aspirations that were difficult for other people to comprehend. Many things,such as her brothers and sisters,influenced her to write and pursue her career. Martineau never really had a trait that was difficult besides her concern of family as a child. Her most beneficial trait was her ideas and easiness to explain difficult theories in which citizens could not comprehend. Martineau never really made any mistakes in her life and she actually proved many wrong by her writings. Because she was also of an Unitarian faith,her faith in God also influenced the way that she wrote. I believe that she was a hero because she opened up a new light of ideas and theories that made society think as they do today. Many sociologists admire her work because she actually right and created methods that turned out to be extremely helpful to sociologists today.