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Mary Wollstonecraft

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.

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This section lists the memorials where the subject on this page is commemorated:
Mary Wollstonecraft

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Mary Wollstonecraft - E8

Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759 - 1797, author of 'A Vindication of the Right of Wo...

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Mary Wollstonecraft - N16

Plaque unveiled by councillor Catherine West, leader of Islington Council, Un...

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Mary Wollstonecraft - NW1

2019: Ann Pearson wrote questioning the absence of any reference on the plaqu...

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Mary Wollstonecraft - SE1

Mary Wollstonecraft, 1759 - 1797, writer, teacher and champion of women's rig...

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Somers Town Mural

This mural was commissioned by the GLC in 1980 and moved to this site by St P...

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