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Sophia Elizabeth De Morgan

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De Morgan, Sophia Elizabeth (Frend), 1809-1892, misc. writer; daughter of William Frend (D.N.B.); wife of Augustus De Morgan. Educated largely under superintendence of her father, who taught her Hebrew at an early age and encouraged her reading of philosophical and metaphysical works. Took active interest in social betterment and reform movements, as in education for women, improvement of conditions in workhouses, playgrounds for "gutter children," anti-vivisection crusade. Became a spiritualist. Contributed occasional articles to periodicals. Wrote stories for children, a memoir of her husband, an autobiography, and a book on spirit manifestation – From Matter to Spirit, 1863.


      Mrs. De Morgan was a member of the committee organized by the Rev. David Laing for the establishment of playgrounds: 'We had a dinner at the Freemasons' Tavern," she wrote, "at which Mr. Charles Dickens presided, and spoke as warmly as he was known to feel for the little vagrants, who, like the dweller in Tom All-alone's, were always being 'chivied' away" (Memoir of Augustus De Morgan, p. 265). In a footnote she added, "I wrote in Household Words 'A Plea for Playgrounds [Mrs. Howitt & Morley "Chip: A Please for Playgrounds" XVII, 160-61. Jan. 30, 1858],' and a longer article in Good Words some time after for Miss Octavia Hill's playground." In Threescore Years and Ten, p. 246, she again mentioned the article on playgrounds "which I sent to Household Words." The Office Book assigns the article to Mrs. Howitt and Morley.

Author: Anne Lohrli; © University of Toronto Press, 1971.

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