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Mary Eliza Herbert was born in 1829 to Catherine (Eagan) and Nicholas Michael Herbert in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Raised in a Methodist family, Mary and her half-sister Sarah were actively involved with local religious and temperance organizations. They were also early Maritime writers of poetry and prose whose works frequently concerned social and moral issues.
In 1851, Mary Herbert founded and edited a short-lived regional literary publication entitled The Mayflower or Ladies Acadian Newspaper. The Mayflower published works by local authors, including Mary, but ceased publication in 1852 after nine known issues. Mary Herbert’s poetry and prose also appeared in other local periodicals, including The Acadian Recorder and The Novascotian. Her literary accomplishments included a popular book of poetry entitled The Aeolian Harp; or, Miscellaneous Poems (1857), which also included works by her sister Sarah, Belinda Dalton; or, Scenes in the Life of a Halifax Belle (1859), Woman as She Should Be; or, Agnes Wiltshire (1861), Flowers by the Wayside (1865), The Young Men’s Choice (1869), and the unpublished novel Lucy Cameron.
Mary Herbert passed away in Halifax on July 15, 1872.