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Alison, William Pulteney (1790–1859), physician and social reformer, born at Boroughmuirhead near Edinburgh on 12 November 1790, was the son of Archibald Alison (1757–1839), who was in charge of the Episcopal congregation in Edinburgh as well as being a noted author, and his wife, ...

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William Pulteney Alison (1790–1859) by John Henry Robinson, pubd 1849 (after George Richmond, 1847) © National Portrait Gallery, London

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[Anon.]

revised by Alexander Du Toit

Burnett, John (1729–1784), philanthropist, was born in Aberdeen, the son of a city merchant; after education in Aberdeen, Burnett himself began a career in trade in 1750, shortly after the failure of his father's business due to a fall in prices—a result of ...

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Burton, Mary (bap. 1819, d. 1909), educational and social reformer, was baptized on 7 February 1819 in Aberdeen, the youngest of four children of William Kinninmont Burton (d. 1819), lieutenant in the Rutlandshire fencible cavalry, and Elizabeth Paton (d. 1848), daughter of ...

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Cour, Ethel Maud De la (1869–1957), college head and soroptimist, was born in Edinburgh on 6 December 1869, the daughter of Lauritz Ulrich De la Cour, a foreign merchant, and his wife, Alice-Maria. Educated at Madame Froebel's school, Edinburgh, and at a finishing school at ...

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Forbes, Sir William, of Pitsligo, sixth baronet (1739–1806), banker and benefactor, was born on 5 April 1739 at Edinburgh, the eldest surviving son of Sir William Forbes, fifth baronet (1706/7–1743), advocate, and Christian Forbes (1705–1789), daughter of John Forbes and Susan, née Morison...

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Galloway, Janet Anne (1841–1909), promoter of higher education for women in Scotland, was born at Birdston Cottage, Birdston, parish of Campsie, Stirlingshire, on 10 October 1841, the elder daughter of Alexander Galloway (1802–1883), estate factor, and his wife, Anne, née Bald, of Carsebridge, Alloa...

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Grant, Margaret Gordon MacPherson (1834–1877), philanthropist and heir to a slave-owning fortune, was born in Garbity, Aberlour parish, Banffshire, on 27 April 1834, the daughter of Alexander MacPherson (1796–1871), a local doctor, and his wife, Annie, née Grant (1793–1858). During her teens she was a pupil in ...

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Laing, Hector, Baron Laing of Dunphail (1923–2010), businessman and philanthropist, was born on 12 May 1923 at 20 Braid Avenue, Edinburgh, the son of Hector Laing, businessman, and his wife, Margaret Norris, née Grant. He was born into a wealthy family, the fortunes of which came from the success of his maternal grandfather, ...

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Stirling, Emma Maitland (1838/9–1907), activist in child welfare and emigration to Canada, was born in Edinburgh, youngest of the eleven children of John Stirling (1786–1853), financier and landed gentleman, and his wife, Elizabeth, née Willing (1798/9–1874) of Philadelphia. A tradition of intermarriage, born of transatlantic trade connections, linked the ...

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Vaughan, Dame Helen Charlotte Isabella Gwynne- [née Helen Charlotte Isabella Fraser] (1879–1967), mycologist and women's activist, was born on 21 January 1879, at Chapel Street, Westminster, London, the elder daughter of Captain Arthur H. Fraser (1852–1884), Scots Guards, and his wife, Lucy Jane (1855/6–1939)...

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Dame Helen Charlotte Isabella Gwynne- Vaughan (1879–1967) by Lafayette, 1929 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Christian Edington Guthrie Wright (1844–1907) by unknown photographer [detail] Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh; photograph © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Wright, Christian Edington Guthrie (1844–1907), founder of the Edinburgh School of Cookery, was born on 19 April 1844 in Glasgow, the only child of Harry Guthrie Wright, manager of the Glasgow and South-Western Railway Company. Her mother died following her birth, and father and daughter eventually settled in ...