Anna Sewell was born in 1820 into a Quaker family whose respect for horses was out of step with the common view of the time, that animals should be worked until they dropped. Disabled in a fall aged 14, Anna lived all her life with her parents but became an expert carriage driver and, as editor and stern critic, helped her mother, Mary Wright Sewell, become a successful author of evangelical children's books. Anna wrote Black Beauty, her only book, in the last years of her life, as a plea for more humane treatment of horses. She died in 1878, a year after the novel was published to wide acclaim.
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