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Mabel Purefoy FitzGerald was, in many ways, an extraordinary woman.

The Pike’s Peak expedition 1911: Haldane, FitzGerald, Schneider, Henderson and Douglas.
The Pike’s Peak expedition 1911: Haldane, FitzGerald, Schneider, Henderson and Douglas.

Born in 1872, the youngest child of Richard Purefoy FitzGerald and his wife Henrietta Mary neé Chester, she spent her first 22 years at the family home North Hall in Preston Candover, Hampshire. The family life was very much that of old country gentry:  the father, after his navy and army career, managing land and  participating in county politics, the mother running North Hall and organising the family’s extensive social life, the two sons pursuing navy and academic careers respectively. Mabel, along with her four sisters, was educated at home, and grew up to live the life of a country lady. Her teenage diaries tell of violin classes and country walks, painting and literature, amateur theatre, visits to relatives and family friends, formal dances and many other social events.

Read more (Bodleian Library blog)

For information about FitzGerald Archive contact project archivist Svenja Kunze.