Derbyshire Record Office

Portrait of Eleanor Anne Porden by her friend Mary Anne Flaxman, 1811 (Derbyshire Record Office reference D8760/F/LIB/11/8)

Eleanor Anne Porden died on 22 February 1825 following a long and ultimately unsuccessful battle against tuberculosis. Rather than concentrate on the fact of her being John Franklin’s lesser known first wife who died so tragically young, we thought we would try to paint a brighter and more positive picture of a young woman who lived as full and as happy a life as she could. Personally speaking, I have to admit that while cataloguing the Franklin collection, it was Eleanor who soon became the “star of the show”. It was particularly in her letters that her character shone really through; lively, intelligent, witty, bright, compassionate, articulate, insightful, with a streak of playful mischief. I would defy anyone who reads her letters not to think she would have made a great best friend!

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