Mary Victoria Condon Clarke, an English authoress, born in London, June 22, 1809. She is the eldest daughter of the composer and organist Vincent Novello, and sister of Clara Novello, the singer. In her youth she was the pupil and constant associate of Mary Lamb, and frequently met Shelley, Coleridge, Charles Lamb, Keats, Leigh Hunt, Hazlitt, Douglas Jerrold, and other literary celebrities of the day, to whose influence may be attributed the early development of her intellectual powers. In her 15th year she was a contributor to the magazines. In 1828 she was married to Charles Cowden Clarke, and soon commenced the " Concordance to Shakespeare," with which her name is so honorably connected. This work, after 16 years of uninterrupted labor, four of which were devoted to the correction of proofs and the supervision of the printing, was published in London in 1846, in a large octavo of 860 pages, each containing three closely printed columns, under the title of " The Complete Concordance to Shakespeare." Her services to Shakespearian literature by this publication have been widely acknowledged; and among the tokens of appreciation which have been bestowed upon her was a memorial from America, consisting of a chair ornamented with small figures of tragedy and comedy carved from the Shakespeare mulberry tree, and with a copy of the Stratford bust of the great dramatist.
Nearly every state in the Union sent contributions to the gift. Mrs. Clarke is also the author of "The Adventures of Kit Bam, Mariner;" "The Girlhood of Shakespeare's Heroines;" a novel called "The Iron Cousin;" "The Song of Drop o' Wather, by Harry Wandworth Shortfellow" (1856); "World-noted Women" (1857); "Portia and other Stories of the Early Days of Shake-speared Heroines" (1867); several translations of works on musical theory, and a great number of magazine articles, chiefly on subjects connected with dramatic literature. She finished in 1858, for an American publishing house, an edition of Shakespeare, without notes, but with a full glossary, the text of which, founded upon that of Dycc, was subjected to a rigid comparison with all others. In conjunction with her husband she produced " Many Happy Returns of the Day, a Birthday Book" (1860), and an annotated edition of "Shakespeare's Plays" (1869).