Wolverhampton BTW

Elizabeth Elton Smith

Elton Smith, Elizabeth née Bruce, 1805—1854

by Benjamin Colbert

Elizabeth Bruce was born in 1805 and in February 1827 married Freeman Elton Smith (1792-1862), a major in the East India Company’s Madras Army, originally of Ilminster, Somerset. She returned with him to India in 1828 for four years, during which time she compiled the notes for her East India Sketch-Book published in 1832 upon their return to England. (Signing herself 'Elizabeth Bruce Smith', she negotiated terms and sold her copyright to Henry Colburn and Richard Bentley for £100.) A second series of sketches in two additional volumes followed in 1833. Her only other known work is a novel, The Three Eras of Woman’s Life (1836), although notices for it puffed her as ‘the authoress of many admired and successful novels’ (Morning Post). According to the Gentleman’s Magazine, she died on 20 July 1854 at Schwetzingen, near Heidelberg.


Memorandum of agreement between Henry Colburn/Richard Bentley, and Mrs Elton Smith of No. 9 Old Cavendish Street, London, 9 May 1832. Add MS 46611, f. 286 [vol. 52]. Richard Bentley Papers. British Lib., London.

The Morning Post, no. 20410 (Sat., 7 May 1836): 7. Print.

‘Obituary’. Gentleman’s Mag. 42 (Sept. 1854): 315. Print.

Raza, Rosemary. In Their Own Words: British Women Writers and India 1740-1857. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006. Print.


Title Published
The East India Sketch-Book 1832

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