Born in Kibworth, Leicestershire, Anna Letitia Aitkin was educated at home by her mother, Jane Jennings. Her father became tutor in divinity at a new Presbyterian school at Warrington, Lancashire, where 15-year-old Anna became friends with Joseph Priestley and his wife when he moved there as tutor in languages in 1761. In 1772 Anna published her Poems (3rd edn., London: Joseph Johnson, 1773; B-12 0448 Fisher Library) and she married Rochemont Barbauld, a Warrington student, two years later and for the next ten years devoted herself to child-raising and joint management, with her husband, of Palgrave School in Suffolk. She published three volumes of Lessons for Children 1778-79 and Hymns in Prose for Children in 1781 (reprinted New York: Garland, 1977; PR 4057 B7H9). They then moved to Hampstead, Rochemont working as a minister, Anna as a political essayist and poet. She is well known for her attack on the slave trade in the Epistle to William Wilberforce (1791). In 1802 they moved to Stoke Newington, a London suburb where she earned a living by editing and he cared for a small congregation. Suffering from mental illness, Rochemont attacked Anna in 1808, he was institutionalized and drowned himself late that year. Her last publication was the anti-war poem "Eighteen Hundred and Eleven" (1811). Her niece Lucy Aitkin edited and published Anna's Works a few months after her death. Walter Sidney Scott has edited her letters with those of Maria Edgeworth (London: Golden Cockerel Press, 1953; PR 4646 A4 1953). The standard life is Betsy Rodgers' Georgian Chronicle: Mrs. Barbauld & her Family (London: Methuen, 1958; PR 4057 B7Z8; all Robarts Library).
- McCarthy, William. “Barbauld , Anna Letitia (1743-1825).” Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. H. C. G. Matthew and Brian Harrison. Oxford: OUP, 2004.