The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women: From the Earliest Times to 2004

By Elizabeth Ewan; Sue Innes et al. | Go to book overview
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ABBOTT, Wilhelmina Hay (Elizabeth), n. Lamond, born Dundee 22 May 1884, died Dunmow, Essex, 17 Oct. 1957. Suffragist and equalitarian feminist. Daughter of Margaret Morrison, and Andrew Lamond, jute manufacturer.

Educated in London and Brussels, Wilhelmina Lamond trained as a secretary and accountant 1903–6. She later took the name Elizabeth, and married George F. Abbott, author, in 1911. She had at least one son. From 1909 she was organiser for ENSWS and in 1910 a member of the executive committee of the SFWSS, as well as of the Scottish Committee which produced a Minority Report on Poor Law Reform. From 1916 she was a successful international fundraiser for *Elsie Inglis's *Scottish Women's Hospitals, raising £60,000 from India, Australia and New Zealand. In 1920 she became secretary of the IWSA, and edited its paper Ius Suffragii. She represented NUSEC at the International Alliance of Women for Equal Suffrage and Citizenship in 1923. In spring 1927 she acted as spokeswoman for the 11 newly elected executive members who resigned from NUSEC, criticising 'new feminism' for turning towards social reform and away from 'the demand for the removal of every arbitrary impediment that hinders the progress, in any realm of life and work, of women' (Alberti 1989, p. 170). With *Chrystal Macmillan, in 1926 she founded the Open Door Council to press for the abolition of restrictions on women's right to work, and the Open Door International, after the IWSA refused to commit itself to opposition to all protective legislation in Paris in 1929. She was closely involved with the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene for 40 years; one tribute suggested that 'most of all she will be remembered for her work in the footsteps of Josephine Butler for the defence of prostitutes' (The Times, 1957). JR

AGO, Alberti, J. (1989) Beyond Suffrage. Feminists in War and Peace, 1914–1928; Law, C. (2000) Women. A Modem Political Dictionary (Bibl.); Leneman, L. (1994) In the Service of Life; The Times, 31 Oct. 1957 (appreciation); WSM.

ABERDEEN AND TEMAIR, Ishbel Maria Gordon, Marchioness of, (Lady Aberdeen) [I. M. Gordon], n. Marjoribanks, DBE, born London 14 March 1857, died Aberdeen 18 April 1939. Philanthropist, campaigner for women's occupational, social and political rights. Daughter of Isabella Hogg, and Sir Dudley Coutts Marjoribanks, MP

The youngest of five children, Ishbel Marjoribanks was raised in a strongly Liberal household, to which Gladstone was a frequent visitor. In 1877, following marriage to John Gordon, 7th Earl of Aberdeen (1847–1934), a Gladstonian convert, she moved to Haddo House, Aberdeenshire, where she immediately demonstrated the same zeal for charitable work among women that she had previously displayed among London prostitutes. The Haddo House Club, a local adult education society for the servants of estate tenants, evolved into the Onward and Upward Association, with more than 100 branches throughout Britain and the Empire and a fortnightly magazine, edited by Lady Aberdeen. In 1883, she founded the Aberdeen Ladies' Union, providing educational and recreational facilities for working girls, as well as a servants' registry and training home, while the Union's emigration committee arranged the removal of some 400 women overseas, mainly to domestic service in Canada, up to 1914.

In 1886 and from 1906 to 1915, Lady Aberdeen accompanied her husband to Ireland during his two vice-regal terms, and from 1893 to 1898 was resident in Canada during his Governor-Generalship there. Her own political and charitable endeavours took on an increasingly international dimension. During her first visit to Canada, in 1890, she launched the Winnipeg-based Aberdeen Association to promote the welfare of isolated prairie settlers, particularly women, and her establishment of the Victorian Order of Nurses in 1897 helped to initiate a Dominion-wide health service. In Ireland she launched a successful crusade against tuberculosis, supported village industries, and pioneered a mother-and-child welfare organisation, the Women's National Health Association of Ireland. A hyperactive philanthropist, she was not afraid to voice her political opinions. Her support for universal suffrage, as well as social and educational reform, was demonstrated through her lengthy presidency of the International Council of Women, created in the USA in 1888 to promote the social, economic and political welfare of women.


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