Dora Annie Dickens (1850 – 1851) was the infant daughter of English novelist Charles Dickens and his wife Catherine Hogarth, who lived for just eight months.
Dora was born on the 16 August 1850 at the Dickens’s house at Devonshire Terrace. She was the ninth of the ten children of Charles and Catherine Dickens and the youngest of their three daughters (Mary and Catherine being the others).
Dora is said to have been named after the character Dora Spenlow, the child-bride of David Copperfield in Charles Dickens’s 1850 novel David Copperfield.
Dora Annie Dickens died suddenly and unexpectedly at Devonshire Terrace after suffering ‘convulsions’ on the evening 14 April 1851. On the day of her death Doras’ mother, Catherine, was in Malvern and Charles Dickens had returned to give a speech at the Annual Dinner of the General Theatrical Fund beiong held at the London Tavern. After the event the news of the death of Dora was passed to Charles Dickens by his friend John Forster.
Charles Dickens did not immediately tell Catherine that Dora was dead, instead writing a letter to her, delivered by John Forster, saying she was gravely ill. Catherine returned to London with Forster after receiving the letter where she learned of her death.
Charles Dickens buried Dora in Highgate Cemetery, on a spot from which it was possible to see London. The inscription reads ‘Dora Annie, the ninth child of Charles and Catherine Dickens, died 14th. April 1851, aged eight months.‘ On her own death in 1879, Dora’s mother Catherine was buried with her.
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