Laurence Housman was born in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire, one of seven children including an older brother and sister, the classical scholar and poet A. E. Housman and the writer Clemence Housman. In 1871 his mother died, and his father remarried, to a cousin. After education at Bromsgrove School, he went with his sister Clemence to study art at the Lambeth School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London.
He first worked with London publishers by illustrating such works as George Meredith's Jump to Glory Jane (1892), Jonas Lie's Weird Tales (1892), Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market (1893), Jane Barlow's The End of Elfintown (1894) and his sister's novella The Were-Wolf (1896) in an intricate Art Nouveau style. During this period, he also wrote and published several volumes of poetry and a number of hymns and carols.
Housman turned more and more to writing after his eyesight began to fail. His first literary success came with the novel An Englishwoman's Love-letters (1900), published anonymously. He then turned to drama with Bethlehem (1902) and was to become best known and remembered as a playwright. His other dramatic works include Angels and Ministers (1921), Little Plays of St. Francis (1922) and Victoria Regina (1934) which was even staged on Broadway. Housman's play, Pains and Penalties, about Queen Caroline, was produced by Edith Craig and the Pioneer Players.
Some of Housman's plays were scandalous for depicting biblical characters and living members of the Royal House on stage, and many of them were performed only privately until the subsequent relaxation of theatrical censorship. In 1937 the Lord Chamberlain ruled that no British sovereign may be portrayed on the stage until 100 years after his or her accession. For this reason, Victoria Regina could not be staged until the centenary of Queen Victoria's accession, 20 June 1937. This was a Sunday, so the premiere took place the next day.
Housman also wrote children's fairy tales such as A Farm in Fairyland (1894) and fantasy stories with Christian undertones for adults, such as All-Fellows (1896), The Cloak of Friendship (1905), and Gods and Their Makers (1897). 
A prolific writer with around a hundred published works to his name, his output eventually covered all kinds of literature from socialist and pacifist pamphlets to children's stories. He wrote an autobiography, The Unexpected Years (1937), which, despite his record of controversial writing, said little about his homosexuality, the practice of which was then illegal.
After his brother's A.E.'s death in 1936, Laurence was made literary executor, and over the next two years brought out further selections of poems from his brother's manuscripts. His editorial work has been deprecated recently: "The text of many poems was misrepresented: poems not completed by Housman were printed as though complete; versions he cancelled were reinstated; separate texts were conflated; and many poems were mistranscribed from the manuscripts."
Laurence Housman has contributed himself as a feminist, dedicating his work mainly to the Suffrage movement in England. His activism was mainly creating works of art such as: creating banners, creating propaganda, writings and contributing to women's newspapers.
The Suffrage Atelier
Laurence Housman and his sister, Clemence Housman, founded the Suffrage Atelier in February 1909. This was a studio that produced artistic propaganda for the suffrage movement. The studio was located at his house, No. 1 Pembroke Cottage Kensington. Although there were other studios throughout England also creating propaganda for the suffrage movement such as the Artists’ Suffrage League and the Women’s Social and Political Union, the Suffrage Atelier was unique because this studio paid their artist by selling the work to the suffrage community. This studio was important not only in creating propaganda for the suffrage movement but also, the creation of banners required collective work. This was significant as it created an environment for women to find other women. Additionally, work such as embroidery, which was known to be domestic, was utilized to propel a political movement and allowed women to earn money.
No. 1 Pembroke Cottage Kensington
Aside from his Suffrage Atelier studio, Housman opened his house to the suffrage movement and it quickly became a hub for the feminist movement. Along with housing the Suffrage Atelier studio, it additionally held educational classes trying to help women explore their feminist identities. This was done by bringing in public speakers and hosting writing lessons.
The Census Protest
The 1911 Census Boycott was a feminist movement with the goal of disrupting government processes. Advertised by the Suffrage Press, the movement asked women to refuse giving their information for the census. Housman was one of the main contributor in the 1911 Census Boycott. His contribution was through publishing propaganda for the boycott. More specifically, he published a series of articles for The Vote - ‘If-!’ which advertised the proposal for the census strike. In addition, he used his house, as a safe house protecting women who refused to give their information to the census.
The Anti-Suffrage Alphabet
The Anti-Suffrage Alphabet was a book including illustrations from Housman and other women which worked to raise funds for the suffrage campaign. The main goal of the book was to disenfranchise women’s subordination by criticizing the negative attitudes towards women.
"From Prison to Citizenship"
"From Prison to Citizenship" was the first banner created by Housman as a contribution to the Women’s Social and Political Union. This banner was displayed at the Queen’s hall at an unveiling ceremony and has been used regularly by the Women’s Social and Political Union.
Housman was a writer hence, his passion has always been writing. Therefore, he tried to incorporate this in his work with the feminist movement. He was popular for taking other people’s work and giving it a feminist twist. In addition, he contributed to newspapers. Through his contributions to newspapers, he was able to advise women on how to protest which can be found in the Women’s Freedom League. In addition, he featured his writing in newspapers. For example, a series of poems supporting the Suffragette movement was published in The Women’s Press as well as Votes for Women.
Housman predominantly contributed to the suffrage movement by creating propaganda. Recently, propaganda has been perceived pejoratively because of its association with negative entities such as, totalitarian governments and war efforts; however, the definition of propaganda is merely spreading ideas to further a cause. Propaganda is effective because it triggers an emotional response and this is powerful because it can overwhelm people's emotions to the extent that they forget to think rationally. However, sometimes, propaganda can rely on people's reasons. In this case, propaganda heightens the emotions that people had already rationally concluded. If the audience is unaware of the intent of the propaganda, the impact or the emotional response that the artist desired to create becomes magnified. Additionally, the power of propaganda becomes more powerful when the same message is repeated. The repetition can be the dispersion of a message through different media outlets such as newspapers, radios, art and literature. Housman partook in the suffrage movement by taking advantage of this powerful medium and utilized multiple different outlets to spread his propaganda such as, creating banners with the Suffrage Atelier, creating the Anti-Suffrage Alphabet, and writing in newspapers.
Aside from his artistic contributions, he also participated in physical protests. He frequently spoke in suffrage rallies. Similar to his writing style, he spoke artistically. For example, he read “Tommy this Tommy that” by Rudyard Kipling to be “Women this Women that”. He also took part in handing in a petition against force feeding, and was arrested during associated disturbances.
His economic belief and its contribution to gender oppression
Housman thought economics was a central component working to oppress women. He believed the Suffragettes perceived masculinity to value market values while feminine values leaned to be more utopian and reflect collective values. The Suffrage movement, therefore, centred maternal values, de-individualizing the movement. This, was important as it helped break the stereotype that women, especially mothers, who were active in the movement, were bad citizens. Put differently, it collectivized the issue and made the reason to be a Suffragette more valid.
Housman was openly homosexual and invested himself to help other homosexuals to be less stigmatized by society. To do so, he joined an organization called the Order of Chaeronea which was a secret society that worked to gain homosexuals social recognition. Additionally, he also was a founder of the British Society for the Study of Sex Psychology. This was an organization which aimed to advance sex reform hoping for a more open society regarding sexualities by breaking prejudices. It was originally known as the British Society of Psychiatry; however, Housman wanted it known as a society and had it changed. Housman also brought his artistic contributions to the fight of de-stigmatizing homosexuality. For example, he created pamphlets for the organization such as The Relation of Fellow-Feeling to Sex.
Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage
Housman believed men should be an active participant of the suffrage movement. Therefore, Housman along with Israel Zangwill, Henry Nevinson and Henry Brailsford formed the Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage to propel the movement. These four writers were able to successfully convince some men in the 1910 general election to write Vote for Women on their ballot. He was also active in another male feminist group, the Men’s Social and Political Union.
Peace Pledge Union
In 1945 he opened Housmans Bookshop in Shaftesbury Avenue, London, founded in his honour by the Peace Pledge Union, of which he was a sponsor. In 1959, shortly after his death, the shop moved to Caledonian Road, where it is still a source of literature on pacifism and other radical approaches to living.
After World War I, Laurence and Clemence left their Kensington home and moved to the holiday cottage which they had previously rented in the village of Ashley in Hampshire. They lived there until 1924, when they moved to Street, Somerset, where Laurence lived the last 35 years of his life.
- Gods and Their Makers (1897)
- An Englishwoman's Love-letters (1900)
- A Modern Antaeus (1901)
- Sabrina Warham (1904)
- John of Jingalo (1912) — US title: King John of Jingalo
- The Royal Runaway and Jingalo in Revolution: A Sequel to King John of Jingalo (1914)
- The Sheepfold (1918)
- Trimblerigg: A Book of Revelation (1924) — political satire
- Uncle Tom Pudd (1927)
- The Life of H.R.H. the Duke of Flamborough (1928) — political satire
- A Farm in Fairyland (1894)
- The House of Joy (1895)
- All-fellows (1896)
- The Field of Clover (1898)
- Blind Love (1901) — chapbook; short story later included in Ironical Tales
- The Blue Moon (1904)
- The Cloak of Friendship (1905)
- Stories from the Arabian Nights, Retold by Laurence Housman (1907) — illustrated by Edmund Dulac
- Princess Badoura: a tale from the Arabian nights (1913) — illustrated by Edmund Dulac
- Gods and Their Makers and other stories (novel and four stories, 1920)
- Wish to Goodness! (1920) — chapbook; short story later included in Turn Again Tales
- A Thing to be Explained (1920) — chapbook; short story later included in Turn Again Tales
- Moonshine & Clover (1922) — selected from the 1894, 1895, 1898, and 1904 collections
- A Doorway in Fairyland (1922)
- All-fellows and the Cloak of Friendship (1923)
- The Open Door (1925) — chapbook; short story later included in Turn Again Tales
- Odd Pairs: A Book of Tales (1925)
- Ironical Tales (1926)
- Cotton-Woolleena (1930) — chapbook; U.S. title: Cotton-Wooleena; short story included in Turn Again Tales
- Turn Again Tales (1930)
- A Clean Sweep: The Tale of a Cat and a Broomstick (1931) — chapbook
- What-O'Clock Tales (1932)
- What Next? Provocative Tales of Faith and Morals (1938)
- Strange Ends and Discoveries (1948)
- The Kind and the Foolish (1952)
- Little Plays of St. Francis: a dramatic cycle from the life and legend of St. Francis of Assisi (1900)
- Followers of St. Francis (1900)
- Bethlehem: A Nativity Play (1902)
- Prunella, or, Love in a Dutch garden (1906; with Harley Granville-Barker)
- The Chinese Lantern (1908)
- Lysistrata: A Modern Paraphrase from the Greek of Aristophanes (1911)
- Pains and Penalties (1911)
- A Likely Story (1916)
- The Lord of the Harvest: A Morality in One Act (1916)
- As Good as Gold (1916)
- The Return of Alcestis (1916)
- The Snow Man (1916)
- Bird in Hand (1916)
- Nazareth (1916)
- The Wheel (1919)
- A Mint o' Money (1920)
- The Death of Orpheus (1921)
- Angels & Ministers: Four Plays of Victorian Shade & Character (1921)
- Possession (1921)
- Brother Sin (1922)
- Sister Gold (1922)
- Brother Sun (1922)
- The House of Bondage (1922)
- Little Plays of St. Francis (1922)
- False Premises (1922)
- Echo de Paris (1923)
- The Death of Socrates: a dramatic scene, founded upon two of Plato's Dialogues, the "Crito" and the "Phaedo" (1925)
- The Comments of Juniper: six plays from the life and legend of St. Francis of Assisi (1926)
- Ways and Means: Five one-act plays of village characters (1928)
- Cornered Poets: A Book of Dramatic Dialogues (1929)
- The New Hangman (1930)
- Palace Plays (1930)
- 20 Selected Little Plays of Saint Francis (1930)
- Ye Fearful Saints! Plays of creed, custom, and credulity (1932)
- The Queen's Progress (1932)
- Victoria and Albert (1933)
- Ashes to Ashes: A Palace Epilogue (1934)
- Four Plays of St. Clare (1934)
- Victoria Regina, a Dramatic Biography (1934) — collection of 30 short plays; illustrated by E. H. Shepard
- Little Plays of Saint Francis, volume III (1935)
- Palace Scenes: more plays of Queen Victoria (1937)
- The Golden Sovereign (1937) — collection of 19 short plays; illustrated by E. H. Shepard
- The Rose and the Thorn (1938)
- The Six o'Clock Call (1938)
- The Bed-chamber Plot (1938)
- The Queen! God bless Her! (1938)
- 'A great relief' (1938)
- Enter Prince (1938)
- Under Fire (1938)
- Gracious Majesty (1941)
- Palestine Plays (1942)
- Happy and Glorious: A Dramatic Biography of Queen Victoria (1943)
- Samuel, the King-maker (1944)
- The Family Honour (1950)
- Old Testament Plays (1950)
- Green Arras (1896)
- Spikenard: A Book of Devotional Love-Poems (1898)
- The Little Land: With Songs from Its Four Rivers (1899)
- The Story of the Seven Young Goslings (1899) — illustrated by Mabel Dearmer
- Rue (1899)
- Mendicant Rhymes (1906)
- Selected Poems (1908)
- The New Child's Guide to Knowledge (1911)
- The Heart of Peace, and Other Poems (1918)
- The Love Concealed (1928)
- The Collected Poems of Laurence Housman (1937)
- Hop o'-me-heart: A Grown-Up Fairy Tale (1938)
- Cynthia: A True Love Tale (1947)
- Of Aucassin and Nicolette: A Translation in Prose and Verse from the Old French together with Amabel and Amoris (1902)
- Arthur Boyd Houghton (collection of art by Arthur Boyd Houghton, 1896)
- Articles of Faith in the Freedom of Women (1910)
- National Art Training (1911)
- Sex-war and Woman's Suffrage: A Lecture Given by Laurence Housman (1912)
- Great Possessions (1915) — chapbook; lecture later included in Ploughshare and Pruning-Hook
- St. Francis Poverello (1918)
- Ploughshare and Pruning-Hook: Ten Lectures on Social Subjects (1919)
- The Rubáiyat of Omar Khayyám (1922) — introduction only
- Dethronements: Imaginary Portraits of Political Characters, Done in Dialogue (1922)
- Echo de Paris (1925) — an account of Housman's last meeting with Oscar Wilde
- Modern Religious Belief (1925)
- The "Little Plays" handbook (1927)
- A Substitute for Capital Punishment (1928)
- The Religious Advance Toward Rationalism: Delivered at Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, W.C.1, on 25 September 1929 (1929)
- The Long Journey: A Tale of Our Past (with C. H. K. Marten, 1933)
- The Unexpected Years (autobiography; 1936)
- My Brother, A. E. Housman (1938)
- What Can We Believe? Letters exchanged between Dick Sheppard and Laurence Housman (1939)
- Autarchy, Internationalism and Common Sense (1940)
- The Preparation of Peace (1941)
- Terrorism by Ordinance (1942)
- Back Words and Fore Words (1945)
- Edward FitzGerald, preface
- The Venture: An Annual of Art and Literature (1903) — edited by Laurence Housman and W. Somerset Maugham
- A.E.H.: some poems, some letters and a personal memoir by his brother Laurence Housman (1937)
- War Letters of Fallen Englishmen (1930)
- 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica gives a different birthdate, 18 June 1867.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. .
- "Hymns and Carols by Laurence Housman". Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2008.
- Cockin, Katharine. Women and Theatre in the Age of Suffrage: The Pioneer Players 1911–25, Palgrave (2001)
- All the Best People ...: The Pick of Peterborough 1929–1945, George Allen & Unwin, 1981; p. 139
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- Archie Burnett, notes to A Shropshire Lad and Other Poems, Penguin 2010, p.xxxi.
- Liddington, Jill (2014). Vanishing for the Vote : Suffrage, Citizenship and the Battle for the Census. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press.
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- Paxton, Naomi (2018). Stage rights!: The Actresses' Franchise League, activism and politics 1908–58 (1 ed.). Manchester University Press. JSTOR j.ctvnb7rqg.
- Liddington, Jill; Crawford, Elizabeth; Maund, E. A. (2011). "'Women do not count, neither shall they be counted': Suffrage, Citizenship and the Battle for the 1911 Census". History Workshop Journal. 71 (71): 98–127. doi:10.1093/hwj/dbq064. ISSN 1363-3554. JSTOR 41306813. S2CID 154796763.
- Tyson, Leonora; Frederick; Lawrence, Emmeline Pethick; Furlong, Gillian (2015), "An early supporter of women's rights", Treasures from UCL (1 ed.), UCL Press, pp. 172–175, ISBN 978-1-910634-01-1, JSTOR j.ctt1g69xrh.58, retrieved 24 November 2020
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- in: Fitzgerald, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, followed by Euphranor, a dialogue on youth, and Salaman and Absal, an allegory translated from the Persian of Jami. Collins, London & Glasgow 1953 and often (last ed.: Wildside Press, Rockville MD 2008 ISBN 1-4344-7914-5 pp. 15–24.
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- Works by or about Laurence Housman at Internet Archive
- Works by Laurence Housman at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
- Finding Aid to the Laurence Housman Papers, Bryn Mawr College Library
- UNCG American Publishers' Trade Bindings: Laurence Housman
- Laurence Housman at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
- Laurence Housman at Library of Congress Authorities, with 177 catalogue records