Cassandra Brydges (1670-1735), First Duchess of Chandos

Cassandra Brydges (1670-1735), First Duchess of Chandos

Life and Letters

Rosemary O'Day


Hardback out of stock

Boydell Press



Letters from one of the most fascinating women of her age illuminate her wide range of social, business and intellectual pursuits.
Cassandra Brydges, née Willoughby (1670-1735), was a remarkable woman; through her marriage at the age of 43 to the immensely wealthy and influential James Brydges (later the first duke of Chandos), she was connected to many of the most important members of society at the time. Unusually for the period, much of her writing survives, including an extensive collection of correspondence, and it is therefore possible to gain a richer picture of her life.
This book presents all the known extant letters of the duchess. They reveal a woman engaged in a very wide range of activities - from managing family and the family fortunes, investing on the stock market, socialising with a wide range of important and influential people, to matchmaking, expressing views on social conduct, painting, and researching family history. They are accompanied by an introduction, providing an overview of her life, and full notes.

Professor ROSEMARY O'DAY teaches in the Department of History at the Open University.


November 2007
12 black and white illustrations
450 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843833420
Format: Hardback
Boydell Press
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Table of Contents

Preface: Cassandra, Duchess of Chandos: Biography
Introduction to Life and Letters
Copy Letter Book, 1713-1735
Early Letters, c.1694-1706
Letters Addressed to Cassandra Brydges, 1713-1735
List of Letters by Year, 1713-1735
List of Correspondents, 171-1735


A lovely edition, complete with reproductions of portraits and genealogical tables. ECONOMIC HISTORY REVIEW

The letters are an invaluable case-study of an elite woman acting as a patronage broker. [...] Social, political and gender historians (who should all, ideally, be all three) are indebted to O'Day for her scholarly edition. The book is excellently produced. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW
An excellent record, which will add to the history of women of the late-seventeenth- and early-eighteenth centuries. SEVENTEENTH CENTURY NEWS

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