Person Female Born 27/4/1759 Died 10/9/1797
Writer, philosopher and feminist before her time. Born Primrose Street, Spitalfields. Her radical book "Vindication of the Rights of Women" (1792) in which she described marriage as "legal prostitution" caused great controversy. She went to France to see the revolution for herself. William Blake was a friend and illustrated some of her work. She had a passionate friendship with Fuseli who was married and probably bi-sexual. Mary had a daughter, Fanny, with the American chancer, Gilbert Imlay. On behalf of his business interests she travelled in Scandinavia, taking her baby with her. She married William Godwin (shocking some of their radical friends) in March 1797 and soon afterwards, her second daughter, Mary, was born but the mother died eleven days later, at the Polygon in Somers Town. At the age of 16 this daughter was to become Mary Shelley.
Mary Wollstonecraft was buried at St. Pancras' Churchyard (where she had been married only five months before). Godwin was buried with her in 1836, but in 1851 their remains were moved to St Peter's churchyard, Bournemouth when St. Pancras' churchyard was broken up for the railroad to St. Pancras' Station. The tombstone is still there. It does not appear as a memorial on this website (since we don't include graves) but by virtue of five other memorials the churchyard is well covered on this website and worth a visit; either virtual (start with Burdett-Coutts) or real.
Mary on the Green is campaigning for a statue at Newington Green and we wish them well. There is also a well-researched and entertaining blog dedicated to MW, A Vindication of the Rights of Mary - "your one-stop Mary Wollstonecraft shop!"
In her early adult life Wollstonecraft was a good friend of Dr Richard Price – see actuarial science for Price’s other life.