It is truly a tragedy that the name Laura Smith Haviland is not as recognizable as the names of some of her contemporaries, such as Harriet Tubman, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth. Instead of chapters on her achievements, Haviland’s story is relegated to footnotes in history texts, if it is included at all, yet rarely do we see an example of a person who was able to accomplish so much for the betterment of society despite the obstacles placed in her path.
Haviland was born in Canada in 1808 to the Reverend Daniel Smith and Sene Blancher and was raised as a Quaker. At the age of 16, she married fellow Quaker Charles Haviland. It was after her marriage that Haviland joined the Logan Female Anti-Slavery Society and, the more she became involved in the issue of slavery, the more she realized that the issue was causing a division in the Quaker church, and the Havilands ultimately left the church.
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Frances Power Cobbe dedicated her life to fighting for the rights of women, children and animals. She spoke out about domestic violence and founded the first organisations to campaign against animal testing.
Frances Power Cobbe was born in Dublin in 1822. She came from a well known family with quite a religious background; her ancestor, Charles Cobbe, had been the Archbishop of Dublin in the 1700s, a very important position at the time.
Frances was the only girl in her family and had four older brothers. While they were allowed a proper education Frances remained at home for most of her childhood, reading everything she could lay her hands on and educating herself. She was sent to a school in Brighton for a couple of years when she was 14, but this was more of a finishing school for girls and she said it did her no good whatsoever. She was pleased when she returned home and could once again return to her books.
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‘All that separates, whether of race, class, creed or sex is inhuman and must be overcome.’
Born Catherine Wilson Malcolm on 10 March 1847 in Liverpool, England, Kate – as she preferred to be called – spent her early childhood in London, Dublin and Nairn. Kate’s uncle, who was a minister of the Free Church of Scotland in Nairn, was influential in her religious and moral education and her later adherence to Christian Socialism.
In 1869 after almost a three month journey, Kate, along with her mother and three of her siblings, arrived in New Zealand to join her sister, who had already been living in Christchurch. In 1871 Kate married Christchurch grocer Walter Allen Sheppard. During the early years of her marriage she became an active member of the Trinity Congregational Church and with other members of her family was involved in the temperance movement.
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