1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Dixon, William Hepworth

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DIXON, WILLIAM HEPWORTH (1821-1879), English author and traveller, was born at Great Ancoats, Manchester, on the 30th of June 1821, a member of an old Lancashire family. Beginning life as a clerk at Manchester, he decided, in 1846, to take up literature as a career. After gaining some journalistic experience at Cheltenham he settled in London, on the recommendation of Douglas Jerrold, and contributed to the Athenaeum and Daily News. His series of papers—“The Literature of the Lower Orders”—in the last-named journal, and a further series, “London Prisons,” were widely noticed. In 1849 appeared his John Howard and the Prison World of Europe, which proved a great popular success. These were followed by a Life of William Penn (1851), in which he replied to Macaulay’s attack on Penn; Life of Blake (1852); and Personal History of Lord Bacon (1861), supplemented by The Story of Lord Bacon’s Life (1862). From 1853 to 1869 he was editor of the Athenaeum. In 1863 he visited the East, and on his return helped to found the Palestine Exploration Fund, and published (1865) The Holy Land. In 1866 he travelled through the United States, publishing, in 1867, New America, and, the following year, Spiritual Wives, two supplementary volumes. In the autumn of 1867 he journeyed through the Baltic Provinces, publishing an account of his trip in Free Russia (1870). In 1871 he was in Switzerland, and in 1872 in Spain, where he wrote the greater part of his History of Two Queens. In 1874 he revisited the United States, giving the impressions of his tour in The White Conquest (1875). His other works, besides some fiction, were British Cyprus (1879) and Royal Windsor. He died on the 26th of December 1879. His daughter, Ella N. Hepworth Dixon, became known as a journalist and novelist.