Maud Pember Reeves

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Maud Pember Reeves, date unknown

Maud Pember Reeves (24 December 1865 – 13 September 1953) (born Magdalene Stuart Robison) was a feminist, writer and member of the Fabian Society. She spent most of her life in New Zealand and Britain.

She was born in Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia, to bank manager William Smoult Robison; the family moved to Christchurch, New Zealand in 1868. In 1885 she married the journalist and politician William Pember Reeves and became interested in socialism and the suffragette movements.[1]

In 1896 the family moved to London after William's appointment as Agent-General, the representative of New Zealand government within the British Empire. There, the couple became friends with a number of left-wing intellectuals, such as George Bernard Shaw, H. G. Wells, and Sidney and Beatrice Webb. Maud joined the Fabian Society, a precursor to the Labour Party, which promoted social reform.

In 1913 Maud published a survey of poverty in Lambeth, a poor borough in South London, called Round About a Pound a Week, a work that was reprinted in 2008 by Persephone Books and remains relevant today.[2] During the First World War she served on a government committee concerned with women's issues.

William and Maud had two daughters, the feminist writer Amber Reeves (born 1887) and Beryl (born 1889); and one son, Fabian Pember Reeves (1895-1917). He was killed in the First World War, aged 21 and a Flight Lieutenant in the RNAS. Maud gave her (legal) name as Magdalene (or Magdalen) Stuart Reeves on their New Zealand birth certificates.

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