Elizabeth Clarke Wolstenholme Elmy

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Elizabeth Wolstenholme

Elizabeth Clarke Wolstenholme Elmy (1833–1918[1]) was an English essayist and poet, who also wrote under the pseudonyms E, Ellis, Ellis Ethelmer, and Ignota.

She was baptised on 15 December 1833 in Eccles, Lancashire. She was the daughter of Revd Joseph Wolstenholme who died around 1843. Her mother Elizabeth had already died and she was brought up by her stepmother Mary (née Lord). Deprived of an adequate education, she became an ardent feminist and vigorous campaigner. Her brother Joseph Wolstenholme (1829–1891) was a professor of mathematics.

She was Honorary Secretary to the Manchester Women's Suffrage Society (1865), Secretary to the Married Women's Property Committee (1867–1882), a founding member of the Women's Franchise League (1889) and the founder of the Women's Emancipation Union (1891).

She published a long feminist poem, Woman Free (1893); two sex education manuals (The Human Flower, 1894, and Baby Buds, 1895) and many pamphlets, including her last work, Woman's Franchise: The Need of the Hour (1907).

Elizabeth married a schoolteacher later a poet, Ben Elmy. In the UK census she is listed as "Elizabeth Woolstencroft" living with Benjamin Elmy.


  1. ^ Oxford Biography Index entry for Elmy, Elizabeth Clarke Wolstenholme
  • Elizabeth Crawford, The women's suffrage movement: a reference guide, 1866–1928, Routledge, 2001, ISBN 0-415-23926-5, p. 188

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