Elizabeth McCracken (LAM Priestley)

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Elizabeth "Lisbeth" Anne Maud McCracken (c. 1871-1944), a unionist suffragette and author from Northern Ireland. She wrote under the pen name LAM Priestley. She was a member of the Women's Suffrage Society, the Belfast’s Irish Women’s Suffrage Society and the Women's Social and Political Union.[1] She is buried at Bangor New Cemetery, Co Down, Northern Ireland, following several years of illness.[2][3]

Elizabeth Anne Maud McCracken
Died3 January 1944, age 73
Burial placeBangor New Cemetery, Co Down
OccupationSuffragette, author, journalist
Notable work
The Feminine in Fiction, Love Stories of Eminent Women
Spouse(s)George McCracken

Personal life[edit]

Sources provide conflicting information about Elizabeth's birth and childhood. The 1901 census records her age as 31 and married to George McCracken, a Belfast solicitor, however, the 1911 census records her age as 37, and a journalist in the occupation column.[4][5] The General Register Office Northern Ireland records state her age at death as 73.[6] She had three sons; George Stavely (b 1901), Maurice Lee (b 1902) and James Priestley (b 1904).[5] McCracken lived in later years between Seafield House, Bangor and Brae Lodge, Greyabbey, Co Down.[2][7]


McCracken was a journalist and published author, writing under the name LAM Priestley. Her first book, Love Stories of Some Eminent Women was published by Henry J Davis, London in 1906. The American Child followed in 1913, The Feminine in Fiction, published by G Allen & Unwin, London in 1918 and Mme Sarah Grand and Women's Emancipation in 1933. The foreword of the Feminine in Fiction was written by Charlotte Despard.[8] It is unclear the exact date of publication of First Causes.[9]

She wrote The Story of County Down as a souvenir for the first Ards TT road race which took place on 18 August 1928, in County Down; donating a thousand copies as a contribution to fundraising efforts for the maternity hospital.[10][11]

In addition, McCracken regularly wrote for the Vote and the Irish Citizen, the feminist newspaper.[12]


McCracken was a prominent member of the Northern Ireland suffrage movement. She was a member of the Women's Suffrage Society, the Belfast’s Irish Women’s Suffrage Society and the Women's Social and Political Union.[1] She was also involved in the White Ribbon movement.[3]

In 1915, McCracken invited Sylvia Pankhurst to Belfast to speak at a suffrage meeting as part of a campaign to support equal pay for women doing war work.[13]

McCracken advocated for women's rights such as: wives should be financially independent, with all career routes being available to them; mothers should possess full rights of guardianship, and equal pay should be for all.[1] She also wrote articles on domestic violence, arguing that by keeping men from imprisonment due to their role as breadwinners was literally an encouragement for men to continue abusing their wives.[14] Many of these articles appeared in the Irish Citizen, calling for the legal profession to take domestic abuse and sexual assault of women in Ireland more seriously.[12]


  1. ^ a b c Urquhart, Diane (2002-06-01). "'An articulate and definite cry for political freedom': the ulster suffrage movement". Women's History Review. 11 (2): 273–292. doi:10.1080/09612020200200321. ISSN 0961-2025.
  2. ^ a b "Elizabeth Anne Maud "Lisbeth" Priestley McCracken". Find a Grave. Retrieved 1 December 2019.
  3. ^ a b "Obituary". Belfast Newsletter. 4 January 1944. p. 2.
  4. ^ "National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911". www.census.nationalarchives.ie. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  5. ^ a b "National Archives: Census of Ireland 1911". www.census.nationalarchives.ie. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  6. ^ "Order certificates | nidirect". geni.nidirect.gov.uk. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  7. ^ "Marriages". Belfast Newsletter. 30 November 1935. p. 1.
  8. ^ Priestley, LAM (1918). The feminine in fiction. Allen and Unwin.
  9. ^ McCracken, Elizabeth ([19 - -?]). First causes /. [n.p.] Check date values in: |date= (help)
  10. ^ "Belfast Newsletter". 17 August 1928. p. 9.
  11. ^ "Belfast Newsletter". 20 August 1928. p. 13.
  12. ^ a b Ryan, Louise. "Read all about it: writing wrongs". The Irish Times. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  13. ^ "1910s - A Century Of Women". cms.acenturyofwomen.com. Retrieved 2019-12-01.
  14. ^ Irish women and the vote : becoming citizens. Ryan, Louise, 1965-, Ward, Margaret, 1950-, Connolly, Linda, 1971- (Revised ed.). Newbridge, Co. Kildare, Ireland. ISBN 978-1-78855-013-0. OCLC 1012761153.CS1 maint: others (link)