Esther Johnson

Life
1681-1728 [Swift’s ‘Stella’]; b. England, dg. Brigid and Edward Johnson, housekeeper and stewart to Sir William Temple, met Swift whom he was secretary to Sir William Temple, 1689; became her tutor; bequeathed property in Ireland by Sir William; on Swift’s advice moved to Ireland with her companion Rebecca Dingley, 1701, remaining until her death; while in London (The Journal to Stella 1710-13; published 1766-68), in sixty-five letters, held in the British Library; her replies not preserved; Swift began series of annual birthday-poems for her in 1719, using the name ‘Stella’ for the first time, praising her intelligence and loyalty; wrote Holyhead Journal en route from London to Dublin, 1727, a daily account of his frustrating delay in reaching his dying friend; commemorated her in a dignified Character of Stella; d. Dublin. FDA OCIL

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Works
Two poems attributed to her in in Matthew Concanen, ed., Miscellaneous Poems (1724); aother in Deane Swift, Essay Upon the Life ... of Dr. Jonathan Swift (1755); COMM, Herbert Davis, Stella, a Gentlewoman of the Eighteenth Century (NY 1942); also Margaret Duggan, ‘Esther Johns’ in Janet Todd, A Dictionary of British and American Women Writers 1600-1800 (n.d.), pp.180-81 .

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References
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 1, selects ‘To Dr. Swift on his Birth-day’, 457-58. [Biography, Works, and rems. at pp.329, 338-41, 492; 496].

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