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Alexander, Horace Gundry (1889–1989), Quaker envoy and mediator, was born on 18 April 1889 at Croydon, Surrey, the youngest of four sons of Joseph Gundry Alexander (1848–1918), a Quaker barrister and advocate of international arbitration, and of Josephine Crosfield Alexander. He was educated at ...

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Anning, Mary (1799–1847), fossil collector and dealer, was born on 21 May 1799 in a seaside house in Lyme Regis, Dorset. She and her brother Joseph (1796–1849) were the only surviving children of Richard Anning (c.1766–1810), cabinet-maker and carpenter, and his wife, ...

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Armitstead [née Cane; married name Fox], Elizabeth Bridget (1750–1842), courtesan, was, according to an entry in her journal, born on 11 July 1750. Her parentage, place of birth, and reason for changing her maiden name to Armitstead are unknown, as are the circumstances surrounding her emergence as a prominent courtesan. About 1774 she became the mistress of ...

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Armour, Jean (1765–1834), wife of Robert Burns and subject of poetry, was born in Mauchline, Ayrshire, on 25 February 1765, the second of the eleven children of James Armour and his wife, Mary Smith. The family lived in Mauchline's Cowgate. James Armour was a master mason whose work included ...

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Ashford [married name Devlin], Margaret Mary Julia [Daisy] (1881–1972), child writer, was born on 7 April 1881 at Elm Lodge, Petersham, Surrey, the eldest of the three daughters of William Henry Roxburghe Ashford (1836–1912), a former official of the War Office, and his wife, ...

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Astor [née Langhorne], Nancy Witcher, Viscountess Astor (1879–1964), society hostess and politician, was born at Danville, Virginia, on 19 May 1879, the eighth child in a family of eleven. Her father, Chiswell Dabney Langhorne (1843–1919), a veteran of the American Civil War, had made his fortune in railway construction and bought an estate at ...

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Attlee [née Millar], Violet Helen, Countess Attlee (1895–1965), charity fund-raiser and prime minister’s wife, was born at Heathdown, East Heath Road, Hampstead, on 20 November 1895, the youngest of eleven children of Henry Edward Millar (1856–1912), a commission merchant in import/export trade, and his wife, ...

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Ayres, Alice (1859–1885), domestic servant and heroine, was born in Isleworth, Middlesex, on 12 September 1859, the fourth daughter and seventh of ten children of John Ayres (1820–1889), labourer, and his wife, Mary-Ann, née Harris (1826–1895). She attended the village school in Isleworth...

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Baillie, Lady Grisell (1665–1746), heroine and business woman, was born on 25 December 1665 at Redbraes Castle, Berwickshire, the eldest survivor of the eighteen children of Sir Patrick Hume (or Home) of Polwarth, later first earl of Marchmont (1641–1724), and Grisell Kerr (...

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Barlow, Sir Thomas, first baronet (1845–1945), physician, was born at Brantwood Fold, Edgworth, near Bolton, Lancashire, on 4 September 1845; he was the eldest of seven children of James Barlow (1821–1887) of Greenthorne, Edgworth, who established the cotton mills of Barlow and Jones...

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Barry, James (c. 1799–1865), army medical officer and transvestite, was probably born Margaret, the youngest daughter of Mrs Mary Ann Bulkley or Bulkeley, the sister of the artist James Barry; her paternity is in doubt. From the age of ten she dressed and presented herself as a man, but the woman who laid out her corpse declared that she was female: 'The Devil, a General,' said the attendant. 'It's a woman. And a woman that has had a child' (...

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Belle [married name Davinier], Dido Elizabeth (1761?–1804), protégée of the first earl of Mansfield, was the illegitimate daughter of Sir John Lindsay (1737–1788), a captain in the Royal Navy. Her mother was a black slave of African origin, possibly called Belle...

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Bentinck, (William) John Cavendish-Scott- [formerly Lord John Bentinck], fifth duke of Portland (1800–1879), recluse, son of William Henry Cavendish-Bentinck, fourth duke (1768–1854), who in 1795 assumed the additional surname of Scott by royal licence, and Henrietta (d. 1844), eldest daughter and coheir of ...

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Billing, Noel Pemberton (1881–1948), aviator and self-publicist, was born on 31 January 1881 in Hampstead, the youngest child of Charles Eardley Billing, a Birmingham iron-founder, and his wife, Annie Emilia Claridge. He was educated at the high school, Hampstead; Cumming's College, outside Boulogne...

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Blunt, Wilfrid Scawen (1840–1922), hedonist, poet, and breeder of Arab horses, was born at Petworth House, Sussex, on 17 August 1840, the second son of the three children of Francis Scawen Blunt (1790–1842) of Crabbet Park, Poundhill, and Newbuildings Place, Southwater, Sussex, and his wife, ...

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Booth, Catherine Bramwell- (1883–1987), Salvation Army officer, was born on 20 July 1883 at Hadley Wood, Middlesex, the eldest in the family of two sons and five daughters of (William) Bramwell Booth (1856–1929), Salvation Army general, and his wife, Florence Eleanor Booth, née...

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Boothby, Penelope (1785–1791), artist's model and subject of poetry, was born at Lichfield, Staffordshire, on 11 April 1785, the daughter of Sir Brooke Boothby, seventh baronet (1744–1824), and his wife, Susanna (1755–1822), daughter and sole heir of Robert Bristoe or Bristow of Micheldever, Hampshire...

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Boswell, Margaret Montgomerie [Peggie] (1738?–1789), wife of James Boswell, was born at Lainshaw, Ayrshire, the fourth of five children of David Montgomerie, formerly Laing (d. 1752), of co. Down, and Veronica Boswell (b. 1704, d. before 1753), daughter of James Boswell, ...

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Boulton, (Thomas) Ernest (1847–1904), transvestite, was born at Kings Road, Tottenham, London, on 18 December 1847, the elder of two sons of Thomas Alfred Boulton (1816/17–1887), wine merchant, and his wife, Mary Ann, née Levick (b. 1822/3). From his sixth year he showed an aptitude for playing female characters. He would dress as a parlourmaid, and once waited at table upon his grandmother, who said when he left the room, 'I wonder, having sons, that you have so flippant a girl about you' (...

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Brawne [married name Lindon], Frances [Fanny] (1800–1865), fiancée of John Keats, was born on 9 August 1800 in the West End of London, the first of five children of Samuel Vernon Brawne (1778–1810), a businessman 'of no commercial reputation' (Motion, 324...