Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810–1865) was a British novelist and short story writer whose work created indelible portraits of every stratum of society, including the very poor. She also wrote a biography of her friend Charlotte Brontë, who, during a visit to Gaskell’s home, hid behind the drawing room draperies rather than meet the other guests. Gaskell published her first novel, Mary Barton (1848), anonymously. Her remaining novels are Cranford (1853), North and South (1854), and Wives and Daughters (1866). She died suddenly of a heart attack and is memorialized in Poets’ Corner, Westminster Abbey.