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 Mary <I>Wollstonecraft</I> Godwin

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Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin Famous memorial

Birth
Spitalfields, London Borough of Tower Hamlets, Greater London, England
Death
10 Sep 1797 (aged 38)
Somers Town, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England
Burial*
St Pancras, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England

* This is the original burial site

Memorial ID
5630 View Source

Author, Feminist Philosopher. She was a 18th century English author, who proved to be one of the earliest supporters of the Women's Rights movement. Born the eldest daughter of Elizabeth Dixon and Edward Wollstonecraft, her family moved from her birthplace when she was nine to a farm in Beverly; at which time she was enrolled at the local school, learning to read and write. This was the only formal schooling she would receive. In 1774, the family's financial situation forced them to move again, settling in Hoxton in London, before moving again two years later to Laugharne, Wales where her mother died in 1782. In 1784, she opened a school with her sister and a friend in Newington Green. It was in Wales she was first introduced to a much more radical thinking, by attending a radical intellectual salon. Through them, she was encouraged to write her 1787 book, "Thoughts on the Education of Girls." This publication followed by a 1788 novel, "Mary: A Fiction," and a 1789 political pamphlet, "A Vindication of the Rights of Man," which defended the idea of revolution and states all that she thought was wrong with society, including the slave trade. With a second printing of the popular pamphlet in 1791, her book was compared to American Colonist author Thomas Paine's "Common Sense." The following year in 1792 she published her most celebrated work, "A Vindication of the Rights of Women," which called for equality of the genders in education among other topics. She left for Paris that year in order to observe a revolution in progress. In February of 1793, France declared war on Britain, and she attempted to leave France but was denied permission. The following month, she met fellow author, American Captain Gilbert Imlay, who was serving in the United States Embassy to France. They entered into a romantic encounter, which produced a daughter, Fanny, in May of 1794. She and their newborn were deserted by Imlay three months later. Her text "An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution" was also published that same year. She returned to England in April of 1795, where she attempted suicide after Imlay rejected her plea of reconciliation. With the support of friends, she began to write again, producing in January of 1796 her "Letters Written During a Short Residence in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden." Shortly thereafter, she met the philosopher, William Godwin; they were married in March of 1797. Five months later, she gave birth to their daughter, Mary, who would become Mary Shelley, the author of the scientific horror story, "Frankenstein." Unsanitary conditions during child birth and physician error led to massive infection, with her succumbing to puerperal fever and septicemia eleven days later. In 1798 her husband authored "Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman," revealing her free-spirited behavior, which was considered in the 18th century an unorthodox lifestyle for a lady, thus the book would destroy her reputation for a generation. Later generations, however, lauded her as "the first feminist." Her biographies and studies of her work continue to be published into the 21st century. These include "The Collected Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft in 2003, which was assembled by Janet Todd, and "Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley" in 2015 by Charlotte Gordon. In 1851, her remains, along with her husband's, were moved from St Pancras Churchyard in London by a grandson, Percy Florence Shelley, and re-interred in his family's tomb at St Peter's Cemetery in Bournmouth.

Author, Feminist Philosopher. She was a 18th century English author, who proved to be one of the earliest supporters of the Women's Rights movement. Born the eldest daughter of Elizabeth Dixon and Edward Wollstonecraft, her family moved from her birthplace when she was nine to a farm in Beverly; at which time she was enrolled at the local school, learning to read and write. This was the only formal schooling she would receive. In 1774, the family's financial situation forced them to move again, settling in Hoxton in London, before moving again two years later to Laugharne, Wales where her mother died in 1782. In 1784, she opened a school with her sister and a friend in Newington Green. It was in Wales she was first introduced to a much more radical thinking, by attending a radical intellectual salon. Through them, she was encouraged to write her 1787 book, "Thoughts on the Education of Girls." This publication followed by a 1788 novel, "Mary: A Fiction," and a 1789 political pamphlet, "A Vindication of the Rights of Man," which defended the idea of revolution and states all that she thought was wrong with society, including the slave trade. With a second printing of the popular pamphlet in 1791, her book was compared to American Colonist author Thomas Paine's "Common Sense." The following year in 1792 she published her most celebrated work, "A Vindication of the Rights of Women," which called for equality of the genders in education among other topics. She left for Paris that year in order to observe a revolution in progress. In February of 1793, France declared war on Britain, and she attempted to leave France but was denied permission. The following month, she met fellow author, American Captain Gilbert Imlay, who was serving in the United States Embassy to France. They entered into a romantic encounter, which produced a daughter, Fanny, in May of 1794. She and their newborn were deserted by Imlay three months later. Her text "An Historical and Moral View of the Origin and Progress of the French Revolution" was also published that same year. She returned to England in April of 1795, where she attempted suicide after Imlay rejected her plea of reconciliation. With the support of friends, she began to write again, producing in January of 1796 her "Letters Written During a Short Residence in Denmark, Norway, and Sweden." Shortly thereafter, she met the philosopher, William Godwin; they were married in March of 1797. Five months later, she gave birth to their daughter, Mary, who would become Mary Shelley, the author of the scientific horror story, "Frankenstein." Unsanitary conditions during child birth and physician error led to massive infection, with her succumbing to puerperal fever and septicemia eleven days later. In 1798 her husband authored "Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman," revealing her free-spirited behavior, which was considered in the 18th century an unorthodox lifestyle for a lady, thus the book would destroy her reputation for a generation. Later generations, however, lauded her as "the first feminist." Her biographies and studies of her work continue to be published into the 21st century. These include "The Collected Letters of Mary Wollstonecraft in 2003, which was assembled by Janet Todd, and "Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley" in 2015 by Charlotte Gordon. In 1851, her remains, along with her husband's, were moved from St Pancras Churchyard in London by a grandson, Percy Florence Shelley, and re-interred in his family's tomb at St Peter's Cemetery in Bournmouth.

Bio by: Linda Davis


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AUTHOR OF A VENDICATION OF THE RIGHTS OF WOMEN


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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 7 Jun 1999
  • Find a Grave Memorial ID: 5630
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/5630/mary-godwin: accessed ), memorial page for Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (27 Apr 1759–10 Sep 1797), Find a Grave Memorial ID 5630, citing St. Pancras Old Churchyard, St Pancras, London Borough of Camden, Greater London, England; Maintained by Find a Grave .