Millicent Fawcett

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Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett, GBE (11 June 1847 – 5 August 1929) was an English suffragist (one who campaigned for women to have the vote) and an early feminist.

She was born Millicent Garrett in Aldeburgh, Suffolk. As a suffragist, as opposed to a suffragette, she took a moderate line, but was a tireless campaigner. She concentrated much of her energy on the struggle to improve women's opportunities for higher education and in 1871 co-founded Newnham College, Cambridge. She later became president of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (the NUWSS), a position she held from 1890 until 1919. In July 1901 she was appointed to lead the British Government's commission to South Africa to investigate conditions in the concentration camps that had been created there in the wake of the Boer War. Her report corroborated what the campaigner Emily Hobhouse had said about conditions in the camps.


Early life

Millicent Garrett was born on 11 June 1847 in Aldeburgh to Newson Garrett, a warehouse owner, and his wife Louise Dunnell.[1] Newson and Louise had six daughters and four sons who, as well as Millicent, also included Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, later famous as the first woman in the United Kingdom to qualify as a doctor.[2] Newson's business quickly became a success, and all of his children were educated at a private boarding school in Blackheath, London run by Louisa Browning, the aunt of Robert Browning.[3] Millicent was sent there in 1858, and left in 1863 with "a sharpened interest in literature and the arts and a passion for self-education".[3] Her sister Louise took her to the sermons of Frederick Maurice, who was a more socially aware and less traditional Anglican and whose opinion influenced Millicent's view of religion.[3] When she was twelve her sister Elizabeth moved to London to qualify as a doctor, and Millicent regularly visited her there.

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