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Elise Haighton

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Elise Haighton
Elise Haighton Vrouwenlexicon.jpg
BornMay 28, 1841
DiedAugust 11, 1911 (aged 70)
NationalityKingdom of the Netherlands

Elise Haighton or Brun(e)hilde; Brunhilde; Brunehilde; Hroswitha; Elise Adelaïde Haighton was born in the Netherlands in May 28th, 1841, and died in August 11th 1911. She is known for being both a feminist and a free thinker.


Born in Amsterdam on May 28th, 1841,[1]Elise Adelaide Haighton was a free thinker and feminist. She was one of the first women in the Netherlands to complete the Secondary Education Dutch Act.

Elise was the daughter of Richard Haighton, and Antoinette Petronella Martha Finkensieper. She lived with her mother, since her father died at a young age. She became a writer in 1870 and not much is known about her life before then, except that Elise worked as a primary school teacher, although she only did this for a few years.


In the 1870s Haighton published her dictation of Doornbos' lectures, and she published a biography of him in 1906.

She initially used two pseudonyms since women were not yet expected to publish literature at that time.: Brun (e) Hilde and Hroswitha.

Her pseudonym Hroswitha refers to the medieval writer Hroswitha, who found freedom to study in the monastery. Brun (e) hilde was a mythical woman who did not want to stoop to man, in whom she could not recognize her superior.

Elise Haighton expressed her opinions on the issue of women (feminism) for women who distinguished themselves in some way. These could be classical actors, but also women such as Anna Maria van Schurman, Elise van Calcar and Mina Kruseman. According to Haighton, women, just like men, had to develop as much as possible and make themselves useful to society.

In 1876 she was one of the initiators of the Reading Museum for Women in Amsterdam.


Haighton saw the Christian Church as an important bloc for women who aspired to intellectual development and autonomy, in both their Calvinistic and their Catholic forms. Therefore, she became a member of the freethinkers' association De Dageraad (which paid a lot of attention to the position of women in different countries), becoming the first woman to hold a management position. As the first female board member, she called on women to achieve equal access to education and the labor market with equal pay for equal work.

In lectures, Haighton opposed the low wages and unhealthy working conditions of factory workers and the legally established iniquity and incapacity of the married woman. As a result, women depended on men and had no political power to do anything about this withholding their voting rights. 'Full voting rights for women' was therefore one of the women's rights that had to be changed.

She took a leading part in the organization of the national exhibition of women's labour in the Hague.[2]

Haighton died on August 11, 1911, in The Hague.[3] After her death in 1911, she was cremated. This happened in Germany because cremation was then prohibited by law in the Netherlands.


  1. ^ "Elise Adelaïde Haighton". Retrieved 2019-07-10.
  2. ^ Oldfield, Sybil (2003). International Woman Suffrage: October 1918-September 1920. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415257404.
  3. ^ "HAIGHTON, Elise Adelaïde | BWSA". Retrieved 2019-07-10.

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