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Besant [née Wood], Annie (1847–1933), theosophist and politician in India, was born at 2 Fish Street Hill in the City of London on 1 October 1847, the only daughter of William Persse Wood (d. 1852), underwriter, and his wife, Emily Roche Morris (...

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Annie Besant (1847–1933) by Hayman Selig Mendelssohn © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Blavatsky, Helena Petrovna (1831–1891), founder of theosophy, was born at Yekaterinoslav (Dnepropetrovsk), Ukraine, at midnight on 30–31 July 1831, the daughter of Colonel Peter Hahn (d. 1873), descended from the counts Rotenstern-Hahn of Mecklenburg, and of his wife, Helena Pavolovna Fadeev. She was a petted, wayward, invalid child whose mother, a novelist who advocated women's emancipation, died when she was small. From girlhood onwards she was a beguiling story-teller. On 7 July 1848 she married an older man, ...

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Codd, Clara Margaret (1876–1971), suffragette and theosophist, was born on 10 October 1876 at Pill House, Bishops Tawton, Barnstaple, north Devon, the eldest of ten children of Henry Frederick Codd (d. 1899) and his wife, Clara Virginia, née Botto (1853–1927). She was educated at home by governesses, and at fifteen rejected Christianity and declared herself an atheist. When she was twenty-three her father, a school inspector, died and the family moved to ...

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Florence Beatrice Farr (1860–1917) by unknown photographer, c. 1905 [with her Dolmetsch psaltery] courtesy of the National Library of Ireland

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Farr [married name Emery], Florence Beatrice [performing name Mary Lester] (1860–1917), author and mystic, was born on 7 July 1860 at Southlands, Bromley, Kent, the last of the eight children of William Farr (1807–1883), medical statistician, honorary MD, and FRS, and his second wife, ...

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Lady Emily Lutyens (1874–1964) by F. A. Swaine, 1913 © Mary Evans Picture Library

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Lutyens [née Bulwer-Lytton], Lady Emily (1874–1964), theosophist, was born on 26 December 1874 in Paris, the third surviving child among the five children of (Edward) Robert Bulwer-Lytton, first earl of Lytton (1831–1891), a diplomatist and poet, and his wife, Edith Bulwer-Lytton (1841–1936)...

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McNeile, Ethel Rhoda (1875–1922), missionary and headmistress, was born in London on 18 October 1875, the daughter of Hector McNeile (d. 1922), vicar of Bredbury, Cheshire, and his wife, Mary Rosa Lush. Both of her parents were from staunchly evangelical families. Hugh Boyd McNeile...

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Müller, (Frances) Henrietta (1845/6–1906), women's rights activist and theosophist, was born in Valparaíso, Chile, daughter of William Müller, a German emigré businessman and JP for Hertfordshire, and his wife, Maria Henrietta Müller. She grew up in Chile with little formal schooling but was evidently well-educated; she spoke six languages and travelled widely in ...

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See Sinclair, James, fourteenth earl of Caithness