Fanny Kemble (Fanny Kemble) (1809 - 1893), the actress and author, was Charles Kemble's elder daughter; she was born in London, and educated chiefly in France.
She first appeared on the stage on October 26, 1829 as Juliet at Covent Garden. Her attractive personality at once made her a great favorite, her popularity enabling her father to recoup his losses as a manager. She played all the principal women's parts, notably Portia, Beatrice and Lady Teazle, but Julia in James Sheridan Knowles's The Hunchback, especially written for her, was perhaps her greatest success.
In 1832 she went with her father to the United States. In 1834, she married Pierce Butler, a planter from Georgia. Pierce and Fanny had two daughters, Frances and Sarah. Fanny was shocked by the conditions of slaves and their treatment. She tried to better their conditions and spoke out loudly against slavery. This caused many arguments and fights between Pierce and Fanny. Fanny defied her husband's authority and continued to help the slaves to the point, Pierce had her stripped in front of the slaves and severely whipped. Fanny left Pierce and they were divorced in 1849.
Their daughter Frances remained with father, while Sarah went with her mother. In 1847, Fanny returned to the stage, from which she had retired on her marriage, and later, following her father's example, appeared with much success as a Shakespearian reader. She wrote a book about her life on the Georgia plantation, which was a big hit in the Northern United States and used widely by abolitionists prior to the American Civil War. She continued to be outspoken on the subject of slavery and against such bondage of human beings.
Her daughter Sarah, met and fell in love with a doctor, Owen Wister. Sarah and Owen had a son, named after the father. That son became the American novelist, Owen Wister, author of The Virginian (1902) and other novels.
In 1877, Fanny returned to England, where she lived using her maiden name till her death. During this period Fanny Kemble was a prominent and popular figure in the social life of London.
Besides her plays, Francis the First, unsuccessfully produced in 1832, The Star of Seville (1837), a volume of Poems (1844), and a book of Italian travel, A Year of Consolation (1847), she published a volume of her Journal in 1835, and in 1863 another (dealing with life on the Georgia plantation), and also a volume of Plays, including translations from Alexandre Dumas, pĂ¨re and Friedrich Schiller. These were followed by Records of a Girlhood (1878), Records of Later Life (1882), Notes on some of Shakespeare's Plays (1882), Far Away and Long Ago (1889), and Further Records (1891).
Her various volumes of reminiscences contain much valuable material for the social and dramatic history of the period.