May 19, 1815 Edinburgh City of Edinburgh, Scotland
Nov. 22, 1879 Camden Town Greater London, England
Catherine Hogarth was the eldest daughter of George and Georgina Hogarth. Catherine was born in Scotland. In 1834 she and her family moved to England where her father had taken a job as a music critic for the Morning Chronicle where Charles Dickens was a journalist. She met Dickens in 1834, became engaged in 1835 and they were married on April 2, 1836 in St. Luke's Church, Chelsea and honeymooned in Chalk. In January of 1837 the first of their ten children was born. The earliest years of their marriage were apparently happy. Dickens was apparently in love with his young wife and she was apparently very proud of her famous husband. Eventually, Dickens grew unhappy with Catherine and his marriage. He did not approve of Catherine's lack of energy for which he had no sympathy despite the fact that the woman had suffered through over twenty pregnancies – half of which she carried to term and produced living children. Instead he resented the fact that he had so many children to support and seemed to blame her alone for their ten children.* In 1857 Dickens and Catherine took separate bedrooms. In June of 1858, after 22 years of marriage, Catherine and Dickens were legally separated. Their separation was much publicized and rumors of Dickens unfaithfulness abounded, which he vehemently denied in public, but seemed in fact to be true. Despite assurances that things were amicable, Dickens and Catherine were never again on easy terms. Divorce was all but unthinkable at the time, particularly for someone as famous as Charles Dickens and he continued to maintain Catherine in her house in London for the next twenty years. Their oldest son, Charley, moved in with her. Dickens retreating to Gad's Hill in Kent and retained custody of the rest of the children. While the children were not forbidden to visit their mother they were not encouraged to do so. Catherine was not allowed to attend the wedding of her daughter Kate in 1860. On her deathbed in 1879 she gave her collection of Dickens' letters to daughter Kate instructing her to "...give these to the British Museum, that the world may know he loved me once". Catherine was interred in a grave with her eight month old daughter Dora who died of convulsions in 1851.
*Charles Culliford Boz Dickens (1837-1896) Mary Dickens (1838-1896) Kate Macready Dickens (1839-1929) Walter Landor Dickens (1841-1863) Francis Jeffrey Dickens (1844-1886) Alfred D'Orsay Tennyson Dickens (1845-1912) Sydney Smith Haldimand Dickens (1847-1872) Henry Fielding Dickens (1849-1933) Dora Annie Dickens (1850-1851) Edward Bulwer Lytton Dickens (1852-1902)