Clough was born at Liverpool, the daughter of a cotton merchant. She was the sister of Arthur Hugh Clough, the poet and assistant to Florence Nightingale. When two years old she was taken with the rest of the family to Charleston, South Carolina. It was not till 1836 that she returned to England, and though her ambition was to write, she was occupied for the most part in teaching.
Her father's failure in business led her to open a school in 1841. This was carried on until 1846. In 1852, after making some technical studies in London and working at the Borough Road and the Home and Colonial schools, she opened another small school of her own at Ambleside in Westmorland. Giving this up some ten years later, she lived for a time with the widow of her brother Arthur Hugh Clough—who had died in 1861 — in order that she might educate his children. (The youngest daughter, Blanche Athena, subsequently devoted her life to helping her aunt.) Keenly interested in the education of women, she made friends with Emily Davies, Barbara Bodichon, Frances Buss and others. After helping to found the North of England council for promoting the higher education of women, she acted as its secretary from 1867 to 1870 and as its president from 1873 to 1874.
When it was decided to open a house for the residence of women students at Cambridge University, Clough was chosen as its first principal. This hostel, started in Regent Street, Cambridge, in 1871 with five students, and continued at Merton Hall in 1872, led to the building of Newnham Hall, opened in 1875, and to the erection of Newnham College on its present basis in 1880. Clough's personal charm and high aims, together with the development of the college under her care, led her to be regarded as one of the foremost leaders of the women's educational movement. She died at Cambridge on 27 February 1892. Two portraits of Clough are at Newnham College, one by Sir William Blake Richmond, the other by James Jebusa Shannon.
Further reading 
- Blanche Athena Clough, Memoir of Anne Jemima Clough, 1897.
- This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
|Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge
Eleanor Mildred Sidgwick