O'Keeffe, John and Adelaide

(1747-?1855)
   • John, the father, 1747-1833
   Irish dramatist and poet, born in Dublin, he was educated by the Jesuits, after which he studied art in the Dublin School of Design. Attracted to the stage, he wrote his first play, The Gallant, at 15. In 1773 his farce Tony Lumpkin in Town, based on Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops to Conquer, was produced in Dublin and performed at the Haymarket Theatre, London, in 1778. He lived in London from around 1798. He produced more than 60 plays, confining himself to farces and comic operas, mainly for the Haymarket and Covent Garden Theatres. He was an actor for twelve years but by 36 he was completely blind and had to rely on scribes to take his dictation. In 1800, he was accorded a benefit at Covent Garden under the patronage of the Prince of Wales, and in 1820 he was granted a pension from the privy purse. He died in Southampton, Hampshire. Some of his poems: "Air," "Amo, Amas; I love a lass," "I am a Friar of Orders Grey," "I Want a Tenant" (a satire).
   • Adelaide, the daughter, 1776-?1855
   Not much is written about his only daughter and third child, Adelaide, but that she was born in Dublin and cared for her father and remained with him all through his long years of blindness. She contributed thirty-four poems to the Original Poems for Infant Minds by Several Young Persons (1804, and 1805) (see entry for The Taylor Sisters). She published a collection of poems titled A Trip to the Coast in 1819. The book Little Ann and Other Poems contains poems by the Taylor sisters and Adelaide O'Keeffe. It was illustrated by Kate Greenaway (1846-1901) and published in 1883. Some of her poems: "Beasts and Birds," "Careless Matilda," "Frances Keeps Her Promise," "George and the Chimney-Sweep," "James and the Shoulder of Mutton," "Rather Too Good, Little Peggy!" "The Butterfly," "The Kite," "To George Pulling Buds."
   Sources: Dictionary of National Biography. Electronic Edition 1.1. Oxford University Press, 1997. Little Anne: Book by Adelaide O'Keefe (http://digital.library.upenn.edu/ women/taylor/little-ann/little-ann.html). Oldpoetry (www. oldpoetry.com). Shades of Green. Anne Harvey, ed. Greenwillow Books, 1991. The Columbia Granger's Index to Poetry. 11th ed. The Columbia Granger's World of Poetry, Columbia University Press, 2005 (http://www.columbia grangers.org). The Faber Book of Useful Verse. Simon Brett, ed. Faber and Faber, 1981. The Gambit Book of Love Poems. Geoffrey Grigson, ed. Gambit, 1973. The Home Book of Verse for Young Folks. Burton Egbert Stevenson, ed. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1929. The National Portrait Gallery (www.npg.org.uk). The New Oxford Book of Children's Verse. Neil Philip, ed. Oxford University Press, 1996. The New Oxford Book of Eighteenth Century Verse. Roger Lonsdale, ed. Oxford University Press, 1984. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. The Poolbeg Book of Children's Verse. Sean McMahon, ed. Poolbeg Press, 1987.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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