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Adams, Mary Jane Bridges- [née Mary Jane Daltry] (1854–1939), socialist and educationist, was born on 19 October 1854 at Maesycwmer, Bedwas, Monmouthshire, south Wales, the daughter of William Daltry, an engine fitter, and his wife, Margaret Jones. She was born into a family of civil engineers, and her father later held an appointment at the ...

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Atkinson, Mabel (1876–1958), feminist and socialist, was born on 22 May 1876 at Ridley Mill, Broomley, near Stocksfield, in rural Northumberland. She was the daughter of John Boland Atkinson, inspector of mines, and his wife, Jane, née Elliott (b. 1853), feminist and militant suffragette; she had four brothers and one sister. Her parents were, as she later said, progressive and sympathetic on female education and employment. As a young woman, however, she chafed against restrictive middle-class Victorian behaviour and dress; she considered the bicycle '...

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Barbour [née Rough], Mary (1875–1958), labour activist and politician, was born on 22 February 1875 in Kilbarchan, Renfrewshire, third of the seven children born to James Rough, carpet weaver, and his wife, Jane Gavin. After being educated locally, Mary left school at the age of fourteen. She began work as a thread twister in ...

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Barmby [née Watkins], Catherine Isabella [pseud. Kate] (1816/17–1853), utopian socialist and writer on women's emancipation, was the daughter of Bridstock Watkins, a government officer. Little is known of her early life, but like most women of lower-middle class backgrounds she seems to have had some education, certainly enough to assist her in becoming an effective writer and lecturer....

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Barnes [née Cappuccio], Annie (1886–1982), socialist and suffragist, was born in Limehouse, London, on 6 October 1886, the eldest of the twelve children of Lorenzo Cappuccio (c.1868–1935) and his wife, Antonietta (c.1865–1910). Her birth was unregistered, as were those of all her siblings until that of her youngest sister in 1909. Her father was an immigrant from ...

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Bentinck, Ruth Mary Cavendish- [née Ruth Mary St Maur] (1867–1953), women's suffragist and socialist, was born in Tangier on 21 October 1867, the illegitimate daughter of Edward Adolphus Ferdinand St Maur, Earl St Maur (1835–1869), eldest son of the twelfth duke of Somerset...

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Chappellsmith [née Reynolds], Margaret (1806–1883), socialist lecturer, was born on 27 February 1806 in Church Row, Aldgate, London, where she was baptized at St Botolph on 4 June 1806, the daughter of John Reynolds, a bookseller, and his wife, Sarah. She had at least three sisters and two brothers. She was a staunch Baptist until her early adulthood, when a friend of her sister's introduced her to the ideas of ...

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Selina Jane Cooper (1864–1946) by E. Buck The Women's Library, London Metropolitan University

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Cooper [née Coombe], Selina Jane (1864–1946), suffragist and socialist, was born on 4 December 1864 in Callington, Cornwall, the sixth of seven surviving children of Charles Coombe, railway labourer and later railway subcontractor, and his wife, Jane Uren, dressmaker. In 1876, after her father's sudden death from typhoid fever, eleven-year-old ...

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Deroin, Jeanne (1805–1894), suffragist and socialist, was born in Paris on 31 December 1805. A seamstress with little formal schooling, in 1831 she was introduced to the Saint-Simonian sect by her future husband, Antoine Ulysse Desroches, the bursar of an old people's home. All acolytes were required to sign a statement of their beliefs and most wrote a fairly standard single sentence. ...

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Maker: Mary Edis

Charlotte Despard (1844–1939) by Mary Edis, exh. 1916 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Despard [née French], Charlotte (1844–1939), feminist and socialist reformer, was born in Edinburgh, where her family lived at 9 Alva Street, on 15 June 1844, the second daughter in the family of six daughters and one son of Captain John Tracey William French (...

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Dollan [née Moir], Agnes Johnston, Lady Dollan (1887–1966), suffragette and socialist, was born on 16 August 1887 at Springburn Road, Glasgow, one of eleven children of Henry Moir, a blacksmith, and his wife, Annie Wilkinson. Forced by family poverty to leave her local elementary school at the age of eleven, she worked briefly in a factory before becoming a telephone operator. The discrimination suffered by her fellow employees inspired her to campaign for feminist and trade union rights. As a teenager she became involved with the ...

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Ellis [née Lees], Edith Mary Oldham (1861–1916), writer, lecturer, and socialist, was born at Clayton Bridge, Newton, Lancashire, on 9 March 1861, the only child of Samuel Oldham Lees (1832–1879), landowner, and his wife Mary Laetitia, née Bancroft (...

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Edith Oldham Ellis (1861–1916), by unknown photographer, 1914

© British Library Board. All Rights Reserved/Bridgeman Images

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Ford, Isabella Ormston (1855–1924), socialist propagandist and suffragist, was born on 23 May 1855 at St John's Hill, Clarendon Road, Headingley, Leeds, the eighth and youngest child of Robert Lawson Ford (1809–1878), solicitor and landowner, and his wife, Hannah (1814–1886), the daughter of ...

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Mary Eleanor Gawthorpe (1881–1973) by unknown photographer, c. 1908 © Museum of London

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Gawthorpe, Mary Eleanor (1881–1973), suffragist and socialist, was born at 5 Melville Street, Leeds, on 12 January 1881, the third of the five children of John Gawthorpe, leather worker and sometime political agent, and Anne Mountain, needlewoman. Mary Gawthorpe attended St Michael's national school, Buslingthorpe...

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Katharine St John Bruce Glasier (1867–1950) by unknown photographer © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Glasier, Katharine St John Bruce [née Katharine St John Conway] (1867–1950), socialist and politician, was born on 25 September 1867 in Stoke Newington, London. She was the second of seven children of Samuel Conway, a Congregationalist minister based at Ongar, Essex, and his wife, ...