Grace Eleanor Hadow

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Grace Eleanor Hadow
Grace Hadow W I died 1940.jpg
Grace Hadow
Born (1875-12-09)December 9, 1875
Cirencester, England
Died January 19, 1940(1940-01-19) (aged 64)
Marylebone, London
Occupation Author, principal of St Anne's College, Oxford and vice-chairman of the Women's Institute
Language English
Nationality British
Education Brownshill Court School
Alma mater Somerville College, Oxford
Notable works Chaucer and His Times, The Dathavansa or the History of the Tooth Relic, Wayfaring in Olden Times

Grace Eleanor Hadow OBE (9 December 1875 in Cirencester, England – 19 January 1940, Marylebone, London) was an author, principal of what would become St Anne's College, Oxford and vice-chairman of the Women's Institute (WI).[1][2][3]


Hadow was born in 1875 at South Cerney vicarage, near Cirencester. Her parents were the Mary and the Feverend William Mary Hadow. Her godfather was Sir William Henry Hadow who was also her elder brother.[4]

In 1888, Hadow won a scholarship to study at Brownshill Court School, Stroud, England. In 1894, she went to Trier in Germany for a years to study language and music. From 1899 to 1900, she taught at Cheltenham Ladies' College. In 1900, she began to enthusiastically study in English at Somerville College, Oxford.[4] As a woman she was not allowed to sit exams or to receive a degree. She became president of the Women's Debating Society.

In 1903, Hadow went to teach at Bryn Mawr in the United States and returned to Somerville College in 1904 to work as a don. In 1908 she published The Oxford Treasury of English Literature: Growth of the drama[5] which would grow to three volumes.

During the First World War, she was a member of the War Agricultural Committee and founded the Gloucestershire Women's Institute (WI). In 1917 the National Federation of Women Institutes was formed. On 16 October Lady Denman and Hadow were elected chair and vice-chair and Alice Williams was elected honorary secretary and treasurer.[6] Hadow would remain as vice-chair for the rest of her life.[3]

In 1921, Hadow wrote the first edition of the National Federation of Women's Institutes (NFWI) handbook. From 1929–40, she was principal of the Society of Oxford Home Students (later St Anne's College.[7] In 1938, she was the only British woman delegate at the British Commonwealth relations conference in Australia. In 1939, she was president of the Oxfordshire Federation.

She attended the British Commonwealth conference in Sydney in 1938 and then set out on a long speaking tour of the United States. She was said to be one of the best women speakers. She arrived back in the UK as the country prepared itself for war. Hadow died in 1940 at 11 Beaumont Street, Marylebone, London from pneumonia.[3]


  • Oxford Treasury of English Literature, edited with her brother, W. H. Hadow (3 vols.; 1907–8)
  • Ideals of Living (1911) Sidgwick & Jackson Ltd, England
  • Clara Schumann—an Artist's Life (1913) translated by Hadow and her brother from Litzman's original
  • Chaucer and His Times (1914) Williams and Norgate, London
  • Wayfaring in Olden Times (1928) Pamphlet published by the British Broadcasting Corporation, London


  1. ^ 1920s, Women's Institute, UK.
  2. ^ Law, Cheryl (2000). "HADOW, Grace Eleanor". Women, A Modern Political Dictionary. I. B. Taurus. pp. 71–72. ISBN 1 86064 502 X. 
  3. ^ a b c Smith, Teresa (2004–2012). "Hadow, Grace Eleanor". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/33630. 
  4. ^ a b Teresa Smith, ‘Hadow, Grace Eleanor (1875–1940)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 22 Oct 2017
  5. ^ Grace Eleanor Hadow (1907). The Oxford Treasury of English Literature: Growth of the drama. Clarendon Press. 
  6. ^ "National Federation of Women's Institutes | The origins". Retrieved 2017-10-20. 
  7. ^ "Biographies of St Anne's College Principals: Grace Hadow (1929–40)". St Anne's College, Oxford. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 

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