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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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Archdale [née Russel], Helen Alexander (1876–1949), feminist and journalist, was born at Nenthorn, Berwickshire, on 25 August 1876, the daughter of Alexander Russel (1814–1876) and Helen Evans, née Carter (1834–1903) [see under Edinburgh Seven]. Her father, who died a month before her birth, was editor of ...

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Helen Alexander Archdale (1876–1949) by Lafayette, 1928 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Dame Margery Irene Corbett Ashby (1882–1981) by Edmond Xavier Kapp from the collection of Patricia Kapp

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Ashby, Dame Margery Irene Corbett (1882–1981), feminist and internationalist, was born on 19 April 1882 in London, the eldest of three children (two girls and a boy) of Charles Henry Joseph Corbett, businessman and landowner of Woodgate, Danehill, Sussex, and his wife, Marie...

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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 'the first great emancipation' for women (...

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Auld [née Jardine; other married name Marshall], Mary (1893–1984), local politician and women's organizer, was born on 8 July 1893 in Main Street, Lockerbie, Dumfriesshire, the fourth child of seven born to Francis Jardine, clog maker, and his wife, Agnes Wallace. She attended ...

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Balgarnie, Florence (1856–1928), feminist and temperance campaigner, was born at 2 Belle Vue Terrace, Scarborough, Yorkshire, on 19 August 1856, the eldest of three daughters of the Revd Robert Balgarnie (1826–1899) and his wife, Martha Rooke. Her father, minister of the South Cliff Congregational Church...

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Banks [née Davies], Olive Lucy (1923–2006), sociologist, historian, and feminist, was born at 10 Riley Road, Enfield Highway, Middlesex, on 2 July 1923, the only child of Herbert Alfred Davies, a house decorator, and later builder and contractor, and his wife, Jessie Louise, ...

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Barrett, Rosa Mary (1855–1936), social reformer and feminist, was born in Jamaica, the youngest of the four surviving children of William Garland Barrett (1812–1865), Congregational minister and sometime missionary to Jamaica, and his wife, Martha, née Fletcher (1811?–1893). One brother was the leading Congregationalist ...

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Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith (1827–1891), artist and women's activist, was born on 8 April 1827 in Whatlington, near Robertsbridge, Sussex, the eldest of the five children of the radical MP Benjamin Smith (1783–1860) [see under Smith, William (1756-1835)] and Anne Longden (1801–1834)...

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Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827–1891) by André Adolphe Eugène Disderi © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Browne, (Frances Worsley) Stella (1880–1955), feminist and abortion law reformer, was born at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, on 9 May 1880, elder daughter of Daniel Marshall Browne RN (1843–1883) and his second wife, Anna Dulcibella Mary Dodwell (1848–1919). Her father drowned on duty with the ...

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Josephine Elizabeth Butler (1828–1906) by George Frederic Watts, 1894 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Butler [née Grey], Josephine Elizabeth (1828–1906), social reformer and women's activist, born on 13 April 1828 at Milfield Hill, Glendale, Northumberland, was the fourth daughter and seventh child of John Grey (1785–1868) and Hannah Eliza, née Annett (d. 1860). She was unusual among nineteenth-century feminists in having family ties to the whig aristocracy: ...

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Chaudhurani, Sarala Devi (1872–1945), political activist and campaigner for women's rights in India, was born on 9 September 1872 at Jorasanko, Calcutta, the younger daughter and youngest of the three children of Janakinath Ghosal (1840–1913), son of a local zamindar of Krishnanagar, and a supporter of the ...

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Cornwallis, Caroline Frances (1786–1858), author and feminist, was born on 12 July 1786 at Wittersham, Kent, the second of two daughters of Revd William Cornwallis (1751–1827), rector of Elham and Wittersham in Kent. Her mother, Mary (née Harris), wrote a number of religious works, including ...

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Cousins [née Gillespie], Margaret Elizabeth (1878–1954), social reformer and women's activist, was born on 7 November 1878 at Boyle, co. Roscommon, Ireland, the first child of Margaret Shera and her husband, Joseph Gillespie (d. 1930). Her father was the clerk of petty sessions in the ...

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Crawshay [née Yeates], Rose Mary (1828–1907), educationist and feminist, was born at Caversham Grove, Oxfordshire. Her mother died when she was young and her father, Wilson Yeates, remarried two years later. She was educated at home by a governess. At the age of eighteen she met her husband, the 29-year-old ...

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Dawson, Agnes (1873–1953), feminist and headteacher, was born on 7 March 1873 at 121 East Surrey Grove, Peckham, London, the daughter of Isaac Dawson, a journeyman carpenter and later master builder, and his wife, Sarah, formerly Burford. On leaving elementary school in Peckham...