Sunday, 21 February 2016

West Country Tour … Emily Hobhouse (1860 – 1926) … part 22



Emily Hobhouse … it is time I set out a brief overview of this amazing woman, who worked for the displaced women and children in the 2nd Boer War (1899 – 1902), attempted to broker peace during World War One, and helped found the Save the Children Fund. 
Emily Hobhouse


Emily’s great niece, Jennifer Hobhouse Balme, was left a trunkful of Emily’s papers, which she has been converting into three books, which let us have a better overview of Emily’s life’s work … which has been forgotten here, but not in South Africa where she is revered.


I shall follow the four periods of Emily’s life: 
  • her early life; 
  • her introduction to and involvement with South Africa;
  • her wish for peace in World War One; 
  • her final years, where she still influenced and affected those who knew her, then and today.


The Chantry garden -
it was recently on sale
Emily was born in The Chantry, St Ive, outside Liskeard in Cornwall, to the Rector and his wife – both-well connected.  The house was full of laughter and gaiety while her mother was alive, but she died when Emily was 20 and her father ‘closed down’ in Victorian fashion.


Liskeard at the south end
of Bodmin Moor


She assisted her father with his parish work (St Ive, pronounced Eve, was the centre of a thriving mining district) and looked after him until his death in 1895.  




The Rectory (Chantry) from the drive



She longed for an education … and envied her brothers … though she picked up what she could from the family visits of relatives – many of whom were of high intellect – ecumenical members, peers, journalists, members of parliament …




… and it was during these early years she developed her social conscience, learnt as much as she could locally, on an international scale and about history, politics and empire.


Leonard Trelawny Hobhouse (1910)

Her favourite brother – younger by four years – Leonard, was an atheist from an early age, despite his father being an Anglican Priest for over 50 years.  


Leonard, after graduating, had a stint at the Manchester Guardian and as secretary of a trade union.





He was a peace activist and proponent of social liberalism, while their second cousin, Stephen Henry Hobhouse (1881 – 1961), was an important British peace activist who had been influenced by Emily’s findings on the ‘concentration camps’ for the Boer Women and Children in South Africa.

Virginia, Minnesota ( the Iron Mine at Rouchleau)

 A short time after her father’s death, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s wife organised for Emily to take on some missionary work in a mining district in Virginia, Minnesota; she also started a Temperance Society and a Public Reading Room Service.


While there her naïve personal relations were exposed, she became engaged to a man of questionable character, persuaded to purchase a ranch in Mexico – and then waited … her fiancé never matched her expectations, funds were running low, and she felt forced to break off her engagement, returning to Britain broken in heart, as well as very dispirited.


Leonard and Catherine Courtney 1916
On her return in 1899 she worked with a small group who were speaking out against the Boer War … and joined the South African Conciliation Committee, which had been set up by Catherine Courtney, wife of Leonard Courtney – the Liberal Member of Parliament for Bodmin and Liskeard – where Emily learnt about the plight of hundreds of Boer women and children who had been left impoverished and ragged by our military operations.



Emily founded the Distress Fund for South African Women and children, raised some funds and sailed for the Cape Colony in 1900 to supervise the Fund’s distribution.


Boer War 'concentration camp'
outside Bloemfontein, 1902
When she left England she knew of one ‘concentration camp’ at Port Elizabeth … but on arrival found many others, 44 in total … eventually there would be 64 of these tented camps.




During the Boer War and her travels to South Africa Emily became a thorn in the flesh of the British Government at a time when women were asserting their rights at home.


Boers at Spioenkop in 1900
(it is now a National Wildlife Reserve - and includes
a memorial and information site on the battle fields)
The British had declared war on the Boer Republics, The Free State and the Transvaal, to convert them to British colonies, which would eventually become the Union of South Africa, but in the meantime would keep the benefit of the Witwatersrand gold mines within the British Empire.



The Boers were winning the skirmishes, so the British moved to take away their supply mechanism – i.e. their farmsteads, stock and importantly their women and children.  


An Afrikaaner woman with her children in a camp


Unfortunately the policies of “scorched earth” and civilian internment in ‘concentration camps’ were the order of the day: the camps were originally called “burgher” or “refugee” camps (a burgher is a farmer or citizen).



Emily found the conditions appalling – supplies and rations had to be ordered two weeks in advance ... but how many people would, by then, be in the camps … the distribution was via a single track railway with the military demands coming first … the request for fresh water, extra food, blankets, medicines came second.


Spioen Kop on the edge of the eastern Free State
 On her return home Emily invested a great deal of time and energy lobbying, writing letters, detailing reports … exposing the conditions and inhumane treatment of women and children.


She was one of those quietly determined to expose the internment camps and to tell the British government and public about the “Scorched Earth” policy.  


She was not a politician, but her instincts were right ... and she lobbied everywhere she was able to get her voice out.


President Martinhuys Steyn of
the Free State

The Boer generals had capitulated after realising how appallingly their women and children were being treated … Emily admired the Boers for taking this action.

Her sympathies were appreciated by many in Britain, but she had trouble getting acknowledgement from the Government … the picture of apathy and impatience displayed at home, contrasted sadly with scenes of misery in South Africa.


She often returned to South Africa during those early years of the 1900s … usually under her own auspices and was thwarted on occasions by both Governments … but once the War was over she returned to South Africa and … then saw that her mission was to assist in healing the wounds inflicted by the war and to support the efforts aimed at rehabilitation and reconciliation. 


Gandhi spinning - perhaps he learnt from
Emily how to spin ... as they met on
occasion when he was still in South
Africa (though he's in India here)


She set up a home industry system teaching the Afrikaner women and girls – lace making, spinning and weaving … she raised funds to alleviate the outcome of the War.





She suffered from ill health for 20 years from those early years in the 1900s until her death … but she was indomitable in her spirit ... and she travelled far and wide.


The sculpture on the Monument dedicated to Women
and Children in Bloemfontein
As a result the Boers came to revere Hobhouse as an Angel of Mercy … a Monument dedicated to the Women and Children (the first of its kind to women and children) was built in Bloemfontein and for the unveiling in 1913 Emily was invited back to South Africa to unveil it and give a talk.  


She travelled to South Africa, but could not complete the journey north from Beaufort West … Mrs Tibbie Steyn, the Free State President’s wife, read it for her.


The populace gathered to hear Emily's address
in 1913

A hundred years later (2013) another Service of Remembrance was held at the monument to remember the suffering, but also to remember Emily’s contribution to South Africa.  There will be a book coming out via the Afrikaner Media Group auspices of ‘Naspers’.



The First World also cast a dark shadow over her life.  Wherever she could she raised her voice in protest against the War.  


The German Reich 1871 - 1918
She travelled throughout Europe … lobbying and finding supporters on both sides of the affray – those in Britain, as well as those in Germany … Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and France … she had learnt much and could outwit most politicians and government officials by moving around or persuading others to help her with her approach.



She wrote at the end of 1914 an "Open Christmas Letter" as a public message for PEACE addressed to the “Women of Germany and Austria”, signed by a group of 101 British women suffragists.


Jennifer Hobhouse Balme's book
on Emily during the First World War:
this is an excellent read
The Christmas Letter was written in acknowledgement of the mounting horror of modern war and as a direct response to letters written to American feminist, Carrie Chapman Catt, the president of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, by a small group of German women’s rights activists.


She was in Germany in 1916 … lobbying to broker Peace – the Germans had agreed to a meeting, the British would not.




Her four objectives on her return to England in 1916 re the War were:

First get peace talks moving so as to avoid further bloodshed;

Second to obtain the release of civilian internees on foreign soil;

Third to get better food and supplies to the people of Belgium; and

Fourth to discuss the food position in Germany.


Her Boer War reputation had brought her many friends in high places, but also many enemies who (although she had been proved right) had not forgotten what they considered as slights against the integrity of their government.


Mrs Tibbie Steyn


When at the conclusion of the war, she again heard – this time from central Europe – the cry of distress coming from starving women and children, she once again devoted herself to bringing relief to the destitute.





Through her actions, tens of thousands of women and children were fed daily for more than a year.  Mindful of their own past, South Africa also contributed liberally to this effort.  Mrs President (Tibbie) Steyn sent over more than £17,000 to Emily for this purpose.


Emily’s fervent interest in humanity and the struggle for truth and justice continued unabated.  The first meeting of "The Fight the Famine Council" - the precursor to Save the Children - was held at Catherine Courtney's home in 1919



Her own actions and motives had been misinterpreted by her own nation during the Anglo-Boer War … and were a bitter pill to her right to the end of her life …


National Women's Monument - Bloemfontein
… but she was held in high esteem and loved by the South African nation and this certainly helped her thoughts.  Without her knowledge and on the initiative of Mrs Steyn a sum of £2,300 was collected and sent to her with the explicit mandate that she find herself a small home on the coast in Cornwall.


Her finances had been impoverished, so now at least she could buy herself a house, which she did in St Ives, west Cornwall, next to the Porthminster Hotel – it is incorporated into the hotel now.

She realised she was near her end … and in her last letter she wrote that her soul was full of the music of the Cornish songs she learnt in her youth.

She was recognised in death and her ashes found a final resting place in a niche at the Women’s Memorial in Bloemfontein.



Mahatama Gandhi 1909


She was loved by the people of South Africa and admired by those like Mahatma Gandhi, who asked for her help.  As well as the lobbyist and welfare activist she had become, she wrote books, loved to paint, and was an entertainer …



David Nash, Professor of History, argued in 1999 that (Emily’s)opposition to the Second Boer War began the tradition of peace politics that has flourished through the twentieth century …
Jenny has written her books from Emily’s papers in order to offer the British public the information in the interests of truth.
20,000 mourners lined the streets of Bloemfontein
when Emily's ashes were interred in the monument

I know this post is not that short … but please read and appreciate the social history as well as history I set out here.  

More can be found in Jenny’s books … particularly “Agent of Peace” ... where you will appreciate more about the First World War and those times in Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium etc ... 
PS - I'm stressed ... I can't seem to get rid of the white - so 'give up'! apologies .. it looks messy - and I don't like that.  I've corrected it as far as you, as readers, can see.

This is the link to Amazon for the "Agent of Peace" book - as shown above ... 
Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

83 comments:

Coral Wild said...

Hello Hilary

what an interesting post. I had of course heard about Emily Hobhouse and her valiant efforts in South Africa but never realized that she "fought" on during the First World War.

Thanks so much - (and never mind the white - it's an interesting change to your normal format! :))

Sue

Out on the prairie said...

I really enjoyed reading your post, Hilary. I think often we swept history under the rug if it didn't suit what we felt all wanted to hear. Problems in Africa are still never on the front page of our newspapers. We caused much of the problems, and never came up with a solution.This post made me think of a book"When Things Fall Apart" that addressed early Christians taking culture and traditions away from the people of Africa.We call them Third world, however the oldest university is in Timbuktu.

Botanist said...

Interesting history, Hilary. Of course Emily's reports from South Africa would get a lukewarm reception at home...governments everywhere do not like embarrassing truths being told about actions taken in their name.

D.G. Hudson said...

It would likely take a lot of effort to clear the white. I've had to retype and sometimes redo the post to clear hidden code. So don't worry about it. It adds a bit of emphasis, although I'm like you, and I like to have things look tidy for presentation.

Emily Hobhouse is one of those women who go above and beyond to help others and in doing so, shows the rest of the world what to do. It is good to know she did get appreciation for her services, even if it was too late for her benefit. This is a very interesting series, Hilary, as I know very little about South Africa, but I'm learning a lot from you!

Vallypee said...

What an amazing woman she was. I knew about her involvement in SA (as you might expect) but I had no idea about her other activities. She was truly remarkable and I would love to know more about the books when they are available.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

She stuck with it and gained enough momentum to continue helping many. Very impressive woman.

Elephant's Child said...

What an inspirational woman. We need more of her. People of integrity and conviction. The world would be a better place if there were more just like her.

beste barki said...

What an amazing life story, Hilary.

Anabel Marsh said...

Amazing woman - one of so many amazing women not fully recognised by history. I love finding out about them.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

It's amazing how much difference a single person can make in this world. She was a strong woman, and far ahead of her time.

Those white areas are really annoying when they show up on our posts. The only way I've learned to deal with them is to change the background color in those areas to best match the rest of the post. Might not be a perfect match, but it looks better than those darned patches of white.

Lynn said...

What a fascinating woman - I have never heard of her before. I love to read about women who made a difference like she did.

Sometimes I get those white areas when I copy and paste. And sometimes I don't - not sure why.

Joanne said...

Wow, what a story and an amazing "angel of mercy" and strong woman who stayed true to her work and convictions. A post like this opens my eyes to how a few can work hard to help so many. It only takes one person with perseverance to stay true. Excellent information. Thank you

DMS said...

I must admit that I didn't really know about Emily and all that she did. Such an interesting post- I really learned a lot! It is clear that one person can really make a difference. :) Thanks for sharing!
~Jess

Nilanjana Bose said...

Inspirational lady! She had amazing grit, perseverance and a deep thirst for justice and peace. Such people often don't get the recognition they deserve in their lifetime, sad but true.

This was a superbly interesting and educational post. Thanks for sharing.

Best always.
Nila.

Marja said...

wow what an amazing story about an inspirational story who has so much done for many people. She must be an angel and the world needs more angels like her. Thanks for post which makes you believe in humanity again

Rosie Amber said...

Thank you Hilary, what an amazing women

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Sue – yes she was indomitable and must have had an incredible mind that could work round all ramifications to deal with the difficulties. She certainly was determined to help …

@ Steve – thanks so much ... and you’re right about Timbuktu with its university and libraries holding ancient manuscripts. We, in the UK, do hear about Africa and its troubles … and thank you for the recommendation “When Things Fall Apart” by Chinua Achebe … this looks an informative read.

@ Ian – no change with the governments are there … and sadly others report inaccurate facts … but Jenny has done her best for Emily and for the Boers who were fighting.

@ DG – I did re-do the post but that failed to clear the white … the link I put in at that point - might, I guess, perhaps be the cause.

Emily was highly motivated and determined to improve the lot of women and children during the Boer War … so often we don’t think of the unintended consequences of our actions as here with the British Government in the 1900s and its scorched earth policy.

Jenny has done wonders in writing her books … at least they are available for us to read, or study and appreciate life over 100 years ago …

@ Val – yes Jenny’s three books (the last is about to be published) have given us Emily’s life … as she saw it in that period 1860 – 1926. The Agent of Peace book is available on Amazon … I’ll put the link into the post … this book really gives an insight into some interesting background to World War One and the social aspects.

@ Alex – she must have been an extraordinary woman and appreciated all walks of life, while really wanting to help the oppressed.

@ EC – don’t we just need more of Emily’s sort helping us understand the world … and improving conditions. As you say the world would be better place if there were more like Emily - a woman with an ability to realise what will help others.

@ Beste – I’m so glad I’ve been able to be around with Jenny and glean an insight into Emily’s life.

@ Susan – even though she wasn’t educated … she reached out to gain more knowledge and understanding … she must have learnt quickly. They are a strong family …

The white areas – when they occur out of the blue – are a ‘pain’ … I re-typed the whole post and it still occurred. I’m not sure how to change the background colour – but it would certainly be helpful if I did: thanks for the tip.

@ Lynn – so pleased you enjoyed the story and realise she did make a difference.

The white areas – I think must be something to do with the link … but I’ve no idea why – and I’m not giving it another go!

@ Joanne – thanks so much … she must have been “an angel of mercy” to many … especially when she gave them hope after the Boer War ended, and then in helping to feed the children at the end of WW1.

@ Jess – so pleased you appreciated Emily’s story here – and Jenny has done an incredible job bringing her aunt’s life into the 21st C for us to learn from.

@ Nila – thankfully I was able to make sense of things from Jenny’s incredible books … I’m looking forward to the third coming out soon.

I’m delighted that you learnt such a lot from the post … Emily’s life story has been well worth sharing …

@ Marja – Emily was certainly inspirational and I think Jenny was right ... that her story needed to be told – so we could learn the truth from her personal papers and archived material.

@ Rosie – so pleased you appreciated Emily … it’s a good read.

Thanks so much to you all … I’m so pleased that you have some idea about Emily and her work at home, in South Africa in the Boer War, behind the scenes of politics, and then her work doing her best to bring a halt to World War One.

The book links will be in the blog shortly … cheers Hilary

Shannon Lawrence said...

She reminds me of Helen Hunt Jackson, a Colorado woman who fought for the rights of local Native Americans, trying to help them directly, while also going to Washington, D.C. to lobby for them. I loved reading this.

Patsy said...

A remarkable woman, especially considering she had to struggle to get much of an education and at that time women like her would not have been expected to take much interest in anything outside their home and family.

Friko said...

This is very interesting, Hilary. I had never heard of Emily Hobhouse before you mentioned her in previous posts.

No wonder she is not remembered or appreciated in this country. She must have been a huge thorn in the then government’s flesh and has probably remained so ever since. After all, where would we get to if every citizen took it upon themselves to point out the nasty side of governments.

Denise Covey said...

Hilary, what a life this woman has lived. It was so interesting to read about her. What an inspiration to all to do something when it needs doing!

Thank you!

Denise:-)

Susan Scott said...

Thank you Hilary for writing about Emily Hobhouse. I felt quite emotional reading this. She will always be revered for all that she did. If ever I pass through Bloemfontein (which I do, when I motor down to Plettenberg Bay) I will go to her statue and spend some moments there. An agent of peace indeed ... bless her soul forever.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

What an amazing woman. If only more of us had her courage to speak up for those who need our help and against the politics of greed. Thanks for sharing.

Rhodesia said...

What an interesting post and of course to me of special interest with the South African connection. She was a great inspiration and was truly loved there. Thanks for sharing the story, and introducing me to so much more than I had heard about her in the past. Diane

cleemckenzie said...

This woman was truly an angel among us. Such an inspirational post about this woman and her selfless contribution to the world. We could use hundreds of her right now. Thanks, Hilary.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Shannon - I haven't heard of Helen Hunt Jackson .. but from a quick look in Wiki - can see what you mean. So glad you enjoyed the read and learning about Emily.

@ Patsy - yes ... she must have picked up a lot early on when her mother was still alive, and then by overhearing conversations of her father's with his visitors. Usually women were destined to marriage and a family ... inadvertently she avoided both .. after the Mexican 'adventure'.

@ Friko - thanks .. I've been drip feeding Emily's name into the blog - but after my recent trip with Jenny I really got to grips with her. She was a big thorn in the Government's flesh .. the paper trail tells us that.

It'd be interesting to compare Emily's ability to garner information to the theoretically instant access we have today - yet who learnt more. Sad, but true, about exposing government to their follies and nasty side of doing business - we'd be floundering around, not achieving very much, I guess.

@ Denise - she certainly can teach us all a thing or two ... I'm so glad you enjoyed the read. She felt obviously desperately caged in having to be at home looking after her father ... she just exploded and took off - her mind wasn't completely clear .. hence the early mishaps with men ... but once she settled into her work - she knew where she was going and what she wanted and intended to do.

@ Susan - I'm so glad the post resonated with you as a South African - and I'm sure Jenny will be thrilled to know you'll take time out in Bloemfontein and pay your respects to Emily at the Memorial. She certainly did a great deal to alleviate the Boers' hardships during and after the War was over ... thank you.

@ Susan - wouldn't it help if we did get up and rail against all the greed and the politics thereof ... we'd accomplish much.

@ Diane - many thanks and for your connection with SA. When I was there I never encountered Emily ... but then Jenny hadn't written her books .. and my history of SA was sketchy or non-existent. I'm delighted that in this short post - you learnt more about her.

@ Lee - she was certainly an angel in many people's eyes ... and she was selfless in all she did for people.

Thanks so much - so pleased you were inspired by my brief summary of Emily's life ... we definitely could do with many Emilys in our world today ...

Cheers Hilary

L. Diane Wolfe said...

What an amazing woman. I'd love to read her story.

Suzanne Furness said...

What a fascinating and inspirational post. I have heard of Emily Hobhouse but much of this information was new to me.

Sue McPeak said...

An absolutely wonderful post, Hilary. I enjoyed reading every word and so appreciate your research and time in making this so interesting both historically and in tribute to an amazing woman. Thank you for the link to the book. I am on my way to view it now. Well done!
Sue at CollectInTexas Gal

TexWisGirl said...

ms. hobhouse sounded like a wonderful woman.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Diane - than you Diane ... the "Agent of Peace" book is very good.

@ Suzanne - that's great .. perhaps you can get across to St Ive (the Church) and to Liskeard to the little Museum at some stage. Delighted with your comment - thank you.

@ Sue - Jenny has done an amazing amount of work checking further information re Emily and other correspondence not found in the trunk of papers ... so my part was relatively 'easy' - drawing it together into a post.

I do hope you'll get the book and enjoy the read of it ..

@ Theresa - she must have been amazing ... very robust and full of vim and vigour.

Thanks to you all .. I know Jenny will be very happy with your comments - cheers Hilary

Gattina said...

She was indeed an amazing woman and so brave ! Being a woman was not easy at that time, can only admire her !

Liza said...

This is a fascinating topic. I'd never heard of her.

Bish Denham said...

Wow! I am always amazed and awed by what women have done throughout history, particularly those who lived under heavy social restrictions. They are true heroines and most deserving of our respect and admiration.

A most excellent post, Hilary. Thank you for share Emily's story.

Sherry Ellis said...

Emily sounded like a remarkable and strong woman!

Karen Lange said...

I think it looks just fine - I didn't even notice the color differences until you mentioned it. What an interesting history! I may have heard of Emily before but don't recall hearing the story like this. It goes to show that one person really can make a difference, light a fire, or be a catalyst for good things. Thanks so much for sharing. Enjoy the rest of the week! :)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

Wow, What an amazing woman! She did so much and without the luxury of a male education. She certainly was a gift to the world. Thank you for sharing her with us, Hilary.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Agent of Peace is a title very fitting. What a fabulous woman. Why aren't we learning about Emily in our history classes? the fact we aren't is horrible. Thanks for this, Hilary. Honestly, I've learned more through your blog than I ever did in school.

Jean Davis said...

An impressive woman indeed. Thank for sharing her story. I'd never heard of her before.

Rhonda Albom said...

What an amazing woman. I had never heard of her before, but her life was incredible.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Gattina - that determination and strength of character shone through ... exactly we can only admire her

@ Liza - many thanks ... so glad you appreciated her story ...

@ Bish - when I think of Emily's travels not that long ago ... when the car wasn't common etc - and how she picked up the threads of knowledge that she needed to put her thoughts into action. I couldn't agree more - she is a heroine and deserves our respect and admiration. Thank you ...

@ Sherry - she must have been very resolute - you're so right.

@ Karen - that white space 'irritates' me - but glad you didn't notice as such.

I've mentioned Emily on occasions in my previous blog posts - but finally felt able to write up a very brief overview and summary of her story. She certainly lit various fires ... and I was interested how far her reach stretched ... and thus how many she influenced to the ways of those times.

@ Sharon - she certainly was incredible ... and was able to get her brain working around the social norms, and policies of those times - and as you say be a gift to some peoples in the world.

@ Joylene - it's a good title Jenny has selected and very appropriate for Emily. There are many women and people we never hear of ... I guess there's only so much that can be taught in school ... and it's left to find out later. The internet does offer other opportunities ...

That's an amazing comment - thank you so much ...

@ Jean - I'm glad you appreciated her story ...

@ Rhonda - yes Emily certainly lived an extraordinary life ... and learnt a great deal travelling around her father's large parish .. tending to the needs of the farmers and miners, and those associated with the area of north Cornwall ...

Thank you so much - it's so encouraging to read your comments about Emily - and I'm glad Jenny has written her books, because none of us would be wiser if Jenny hadn't given Emily her true voice.

All the best and cheers Hilary

M Pax said...

Wow, she led an incredible life and accomplished so much. I love reading about women's contributions in history.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

She was an impressive lady.

Crystal Collier said...

Can you imagine dedicating your life to such a worthy cause? I can only begin to grasp the sacrifices she must have made. Definitely a hero.

Lowcarb team member said...

Hilary
What a most interesting post and all the photo's you've used just add to it. What a brilliant woman and what a contribution she made.

Thank you so much for allowing me to learn more about this special and inspirational person.

All the best Jan

Murees Dupé said...

Emily was a wonderful woman. She fought for others who couldn't do so for themselves. How different my country's history would have been if not for people like her. Fantastic post, Hilary. Thank you for sharing this with me.

loverofwords said...

What an amazing story! Hilary which answers what can one person do? With passion and determination and vision, one person can make the world a better place. I am glad that South Africa has not forgotten her.

Christine Rains said...

How interesting! I love your posts, especially the details like the one about her brother the priest being an atheist. Have a great rest of the week! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Mary - after her inhibited start, yet no doubt hugely productive life amongst the villages in her father's parish, she set an amazing example and achieved so much.

@ Holly - she certainly was determined to help others.

@ Crystal - not easily ... but she had that working base from being her father's voice amongst the parishioners, and was able to help and do so much locally - before she moved away from her parish duties and found causes she could support.

@ Jan - thank you so much re the post and the photos ... she certainly deserves to be remembered for how many she helped and encouraged to give themselves hope after the devastations the women and children had encountered in SA and in Europe.

I thank Jenny for bringing Emily's story to us .. so reading your words will please Jenny.

@ Murees - being a South African you would understand more than many her impact on the women and children during the Boer Wars. Yes life would be very different for your history if Emily hadn't had some influence ... so pleased you appreciated this knowledge.

@ Nat - thank you .. and yes one person can do much with the characteristics you state: passion, determination and vision ... she helped the South Africans get through that ghastly period. It appears that Emily Hobhouse is being given a new lease of life in South Africa ...

@ Christine - many thanks ... as you know I try and add snippets of interest into my posts.

Thanks everyone so much - I'm delighted this post as given you a moment or two to reflect on Emily Hobhouse's life ... and shows that Jenny was right to bring Emily's personal history into the public domain - giving many insights that come directly from Emily's papers of the day.

All the best - Hilary


Deniz Bevan said...

Such a fascinating life. I'd love to know more details of her time in Minnesota and her initial arrival in South Africa... Darn, another book to add to the wishlist!! Thank you for whetting my appetite for this intriguing person from history, Hilary! So many things from the past are just as relevant today but we have to make the effort to remember, to relearn...

A Heron's View said...

A truly remarkable woman of courage, determination and strength of character who persevered in her endeavours. A woman that the Cornish nation can be proud of and perhaps inspire others to because the world still needs women like her.

Danielle L Zecher said...

Thanks for the history lesson! I had never heard of her, but I think I may want to check out the books now.

Julie Flanders said...

Wow, what a life! I love to read about amazing women like this, so inspiring. I think more people should know about Ms. Hobhouse and it's truly sad that her life has been forgotten in her home country. Thanks for the history lesson, Hilary!

klahanie said...

Hi Hilary,

Yes, once again, apologies for my, I'm sure, notable absence. I shall keep my comment mercifully short. Such a detailed and thought filling story of a truly amazing lady. Your in-depth, well studied posts are much admired, Hilary.

Cheers and thank you,

Gary

Munir said...

Emily Hob House reminds me of my auntie who had a thirst for education and wanted to study medicine. My grand mother did not allow that ad Met School was coed. She said that my auntie could go to the med school only if one of her brothers went with her but none wanted to. I think that we did come a long way. Today us women are doing so much more. Cheers;-)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deniz - thanks for your comment - I'll look into her time in Minnesota and her initial arrival in SA ... "To Love One's Enemies" Jenny's first book on Emily's work and life ... it is not sadly easily available and those that are available are expensive.

However Jenny's "Agent of Peace" is readily available via Amazon and is a very good read - I enjoyed it and was able to garner quite a lot of information on pre First World War Europe and then subsequent developments as WW1 unfolded.

Exactly ... we do need to keep learning and remember our past - technically things may have changed, but much else has not ...

@ Mel - I would hope the Cornish nation will be proud of Emily and won't forget her ... because she fought for what was right for many. Your concept of her - seems to be completely right ...

@ Danielle - thank you so much for your interest ...

@ Julie - she understandably told the truth - which the Government didn't want to know and didn't want to check out properly. I'm glad I've posted about her - she is remembered around north Cornwall.

@ Gary - it's so good to see you and I'm so appreciative of your thoughts re Emily and this post ...

@ Munir - I'm sure many of your Indian women really struggled, as they still do - to get education ... sad that one of her brothers couldn't help her. Yes we have improved things for women - still much needs to be done.

Thanks so much for all your wonderful comments re Emily - all the very best Hilary

Deborah Barker said...

Thank you for highlighting this woman's amazing work, Hilary. This is an exceptionally inspirational story!I enjoyed reading these bite sized nuggets of information and the white really did not trouble me at all. Thank you ;-)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Wow! She was a remarkable woman! Thank you for sharing her story.

Mark Noce said...

Wow! And that Boer War was no joke either. So much in a single lifetime, thanks for sharing:)

A Cuban In London said...

What an inspiring woman and an eventful life story. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Deborah - so pleased you got here and read about Emily and I appreciate your thoughts on my post. She certainly is inspiring, especially in today's age ...

@ Tyrean - yes, a story to be told .. and I'm glad you rated Emily's story as one worth reading ...

@ Mark - the Boer War was horrific ... the start of more horrors to come, little did they know then, - and considering her lifetime started at aged 35 - it is an extraordinary story.

@ ACIL - so pleased you realised the value of her life story .. you would understand so much too ..

Thanks so much for coming by and recognising Emily and her achievements .. cheers Hilary

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

To change the background color in those whited-out areas, use your cursor to highlight the affected area, and then click on the icon above the draft that's to the right of the underlined A. It'll give you a drop-down menu of colors to choose from. Easy peasy.

Truedessa said...

This was very interesting and I enjoy reading stories about strong women who helped make a difference. You put so much effort into this and I thank you for another informative post. I like the little history lessons.

Sandra Cox said...

What an amazing woman! And what a well written post.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Susan - thanks for that tip ... I hadn't realised that would happen - and as you say 'easy peasy' .. thanks!

@ Truedessa - good to see you again - so glad you enjoyed the story of Emily and her achievements. The history brings the area or person to life ...

@ Sandra - many thanks and so pleased to have your comment ...

Cheers to you all - thanks for leaving a comment - Hilary

Elsie Amata said...

Emily was an astounding woman and achieved so much in her life. I am amazed by her and all she did. And as for the white, it didn't look messy to me at all, for what it's worth ;)

Sandra Cox said...

Hillary,
Just stopped by to say hey and enjoy the rest of your day.

Deborah Weber said...

A truly inspiring story!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Elsie - thanks Elise .. I'd taken Susan's tip and sorted the white out. I'm delighted you found the post interesting ... Emily did achieve lots.

@ Sandra - many thanks for coming over.

@ Deborah - yes Emily is certainly inspiring ..

Cheers to you all - Hilary

Michelle Wallace said...

A truly remarkable woman.
As she said in one of her letters: " I had never seen your country nor did I know anyone of you. It was therefore no personal link of friendship that brought me here. Nor was it a political motive of any description. I came quite naturally - in obedience to the feeling of unity or oneness of womanhood and of those noble traditions, characteristic of the life of the English people, in which I was nurtured and which I inherited from times immemorial. It is when the community is shaken to its foundations, that abysmal depths of privation call to each other and that a deeper unity of humanity evinces itself." Amazing woman.
Thanks for the article. There are some things I'm learning for the first time.
Hope you're well, Hilary!
Sorry I haven't been around lately...

J Lenni Dorner said...

What an amazing woman! Thank you for sharing this knowledge today.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Michelle - it sounds as if you've studied Emily ... or read Jenny's book. Fascinating quote you've given us here - which definitely adds to Emily's story .. and shows the way the emphasis of the written word has changed over the years. She is very gentle in her approach and her understanding ... and then followed her ideals to help as much as she was able.

So pleased you came over to read and then left this wonderful comment .. it's good to see you ... all well here and no worries re visiting ...

@ JL - thanks for coming over ...

Cheers to you both - Hilary

Nick Wilford said...

It sounds like she had incredible energy and it's sad that her contributions have been almost forgotten in Britain. Hopefully Jenny's books can change that.

N. R. Williams said...

Hi Hilary
I didn't know any of this. Emily certainly was a brave woman who didn't let her lack of education, money or marital status stop her. I admire that.

As times change it seems to me that much remains the same. Men in power start wars, often for economical reasons and the rest of us cry out against what they're doing. Many point their finger here in the US at Bush and Chaney for the war in Iraq, began because those two could gain great wealth and justified by weapons of mass destruction which were never found and didn't exist. It's true they toppled a terrible man but also true Chaney became a billionaire. As a christian I have to wonder what God thinks of this.

I loved in Minnesota for ten years and went to college there.

Wishing you the best.
Nancy

mail4rosey said...

I can see why you wanted to write about her. She does sound amazing. Can you imagine how different so many things would have been if she would have stayed in the bad engagement? I am assuming breaking off an engagement back in the day was not so easy as it is today. Very interesting post!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Nick - I have to confirm that - but Jenny too ... who has 'commuted' back and forth to the UK from Vancouver Island - to check out various facts and information from the records. She is remembered in South Africa and I hope that will spread over here ...

@ Nancy - so good to see you and to have your comment ... Emily certainly set her face to the task. We learn from history don't we ...

What we will make of life today – in 25 or 50 years – is another matter … I’ve just seen the film Spotlight … interesting!

Re Minnesota – that’s good you had a good time and were at college in the State …

@ Rosey – I was trying to write something succinct for Jenny – so that at least a record is here … albeit it’s such a pin drop of information compared to what she has done in writing her books – she has done an amazing job.

Yes – she must have been strong-minded to go back to England after that initial challenge …

I’ll find out more once I read Jenny’s first book properly .. now I understand a great deal more and can relate to Emily and her time and the areas she lived, having spent time in South Africa myself …

All the best and thanks for your comments - Hilary

Jeffrey Scott said...

Wow! What a great recap of Emily's life and deeds.
Such a brave soul. She did a lot to end the suffering of so many, even at the cost of her own comfort.
It's always so nice to hear about people who actually care about the suffering of others, rather than trying to inflict that suffering.

Ann Best said...

What an amazing "Agent of Peace." What a fantastic woman who left such a wonderful legacy. Realizing your own experiences in South Africa, Emily's story takes on added meaning. (I just read this great post, feasting on the visuals, on Feedly ... finally figured out how to use Feedly. Cheers for a great post. I'm so glad to be back among my blogger friends near and far away. Thanks for your support!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

@ Jeffrey - many thanks ... I tried to give an idea of Emily's achievements ... and you've encapsulated her character in your comment.

You're right we need more positive stories ... even though she suffered, she never stopped going above and beyond people's expectations ... she was brave.

@ Ann - I'm so pleased you got to read this ... Emily definitely was an "Agent of Peace" - and infact may still have an affect on our lives today ... as Professor Nash argued and referred to ...

I can take more of Emily's story in now ... especially as I've travelled and lived in South Africa, as too having Jenny's influence and her research ... now I must read some more.

That's good you've sorted Feedly out - well done ...

Cheers to you both - and thanks so much for these supportive comments - Hilary

Narayana Rao said...

Good to See Mahatma Gandhi's photo in your blog post.

Good to visit your site as a part of my A to Z visits.
Welcome to A to Z April Blogging Challenge 2016 - Co-Participant - Nrao
NRao Blogs - 2016 A to Z Challenge Blog Posts

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Thanks Nara - good to see you ... and yes I'm a stalwart of the A-Z.

Emily knew Gandhi fairly well ... so I needed to put the link in ... glad you appreciated seeing him appear here in the post ... cheers Hilary

mail4rosey said...

Shakespeare was my first "hard" read as a kid. I loved it then, and I love it now. Have a great week!! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Rosey - I suspect you meant to leave this comment on a later post - but no matter ... Shakespeare will be forever with us ... and we will learn from him and appreciate his works and words as long as we live .. cheers Hilary