Maria Edgeworth (1 January 1767 - 22 May 1849) was an Anglo-Irish novelist. Born in England, Edgeworth was the second of 21 children (by four wives). In 1782 she went to live in Ireland to serve as her father's property manager. Starting with some essays on women's education reform, she wrote her first novel, Castle Rackrent, in 1800. Maria Edgeworth was explicit about the fact that all her stories had a moral purpose behind them, usually pointing out the duty of members of the upper class toward their tenants.