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Abrahams, Doris Caroline [pseud. Caryl Brahms] (1901–1982), writer and songwriter, was born at 28 Morland Road, Croydon, Surrey, on 8 December 1901, the only child of Henry Clarence Abrahams, a wholesale jeweller, and his wife, Pearl, one of the twenty-one children of ...

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Acton, Marion Jean Catherine [Jeanie] Adams- [formerly Jeanie Hering] (1846–1928), writer, was born Marion Hamilton on 21 June 1846, in Brodick, Isle of Arran, Scotland, the daughter of Edith Hamilton and an unidentified Scottish nobleman. Before the age of four she was adopted by ...

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Adam [née King], Ruth Augusta (1907–1977), writer and feminist, was born on 14 December 1907 at the vicarage in Arnold, a mining parish in Nottinghamshire, the second of the four children of the Revd Rupert William King (1874–1955), a Church of England...

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Alcock [née Cumberland], Mary (1741?–1798), writer, was the youngest of four children of Bishop Denison Cumberland (1705/6–1774) and Joanna Bentley (1704/5–1775), daughter of Dr Richard Bentley, classical scholar and master of Trinity College, Cambridge. The third of three daughters, and the sister of ...

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Allfrey, Phyllis Byam Shand (1908–1986), author and politician, was born in Roseau, Dominica, British West Indies, on 24 October 1908, the second daughter of Francis Byam Shand (b. 1879), a lawyer who had come to Dominica from England in the early 1900s, and ...

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Margery Louise Allingham (1904–1966) by Howard Coster, 1936 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Allingham, Margery Louise (1904–1966), writer, was born on 20 May 1904 in Ealing, London. She was the eldest of three children of the journalist and writer Herbert John Allingham (1867–1936), editor of the London Journal, and his wife, Emily Jane, née Hughes (1879–1960)...

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Dame Cicily Isabel Andrews [Rebecca West] (1892–1983) by Wyndham Lewis, 1932 © Estate of Mrs G. A. Wyndham Lewis / National Portrait Gallery, London

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Andrews [née Fairfield], Dame Cicily Isabel [pseud. Rebecca West] (1892–1983), writer, critic, and journalist, was born on 21 December 1892 at 28 Burlington Road, Westbourne Park, London, the youngest of three children (all daughters) of Charles Fairfield (1843–1906) and his wife, ...

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Mary Louisa Armitt (1851–1911) by Sophia Armitt The Armitt Trust Collection

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Armitt, Mary Louisa (1851–1911), author and founder of the Armitt Library, Ambleside, was born at 19 Melbourne Terrace, Salford, Lancashire, on 24 September 1851. She was the youngest of three daughters of William Armitt (1815–1867), an impecunious assistant overseer who valued learning, and his wife, ...

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Armstrong, Lilias Eveline (1882–1937), phonetician, born on 29 September 1882 at 152 Eccles New Road, Pendlebury, near Manchester, was the daughter of James William Armstrong, Free Methodist church minister, and his wife, Mary Elizabeth Armstrong, née Hunter. On 24 September 1926, at the ...

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Arundell, Dorothy (1559/60–1613), author and Benedictine nun, was the daughter of Sir John Arundell (1527×30–1590) [see under Arundell family] of Lanherne, Cornwall, and Lady Anna Stourton, daughter of the earl of Derby. The Arundells were the chief mainstay of Catholicism during ...

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Askew [married name Kyme], Anne (c. 1521–1546), writer and protestant martyr, was probably born at her family home in Stallingborough, near Grimsby in Lincolnshire, the second daughter of Sir William Askew (1489–1541) and his first wife, Elizabeth Wrottesley. She had two brothers, ...

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Lady Cynthia Mary Evelyn Asquith (1887–1960) by Bassano, 1912 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Asquith [née Charteris], Lady Cynthia Mary Evelyn (1887–1960), writer, was born on 27 September 1887 at her family's estate, Clouds, near East Knoyle, Wiltshire. She was the third of seven children of Hugo Charteris (1857–1937), styled Lord Elcho until his succession as ...

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Atkinson [married name Calvert], (Caroline) Louisa Waring (1834–1872), writer and naturalist, was born on 25 February 1834 at Oldbury, Sutton Forest, near Berrima, on the southern highlands of New South Wales, the third daughter and fourth child of Charlotte, née Waring (1796–1867)...

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Smith, Constance Babington (1912–2000), photographic interpreter and author, was born at Beech Law, Puttenham, Surrey (on the Hog’s Back, in the North Downs), on 15 October 1912, the seventh of ten children of Sir Henry Babington Smith (1863–1923), civil servant and financier, and his wife Lady ...

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Dame Beryl Margaret Bainbridge (1932–2010) by Eamonn McCabe, 2002 © Eamonn McCabe

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Bainbridge, Dame Beryl Margaret (1932–2010), actress, writer, and artist, was born on 21 November 1932 at 294 Menlove Avenue, Allerton, Liverpool, the younger child of Richard Bainbridge, commercial agent, and his wife, Winifred, née Baines. Her father was a self-made man who left school at ten, established himself successfully in business, but then went bankrupt as a result of the 1929 financial crash. His wife, who considered that her husband had married above himself, was disappointed and embittered by the family's reduced circumstances, and the young ...