Ada Byron, later Countess of Lovelace, was born 197 years ago, 10 December 1815, so it’s safe to say that many bicentennial preparations are already getting under way. What an unusual sort of celebrity she has become, after nearly two centuries of total obscurity. Let us remember: she was forgotten.

Today she is the Google Doodle:


For basic introduction, BrainPOP has a nice little movie. A tweeter has just alerted me to an “indie-rock steampunk musical.”

And to mark the day, here’s one letter of hers, from my book. She was a young woman, newly married, and she went to see a model of the new “electric telegraph” in London,

& the only other person was a middle-aged gentleman who chose to behave as if I were the show [she wrote to her mother] which of course I thought was the most impudent and unpardonable.—I am sure he took me for a very young (& I suppose he thought rather handsome) governess. . . . He stopped as long as I did, & then followed me out.— I took care to look as aristocratic & as like a Countess as possible. . . . I must try & add a little age to my appearance. . . . I would go & see something everyday & I am sure London would never be exhausted.


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