Esther Roper

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Esther Roper
Esther Roper (1868–1938) was an English suffragist who was one of the first women to graduate and gain her BA at Owens College in Manchester.[1] She was the daughter of a Manchester factory worker who later became a missionary in Africa.

She was a working woman and a skilled organiser, administrator and fund-raiser — at her best behind the scenes rather than in front. She worked for the women's department of Manchester University and, as the Secretary of the North of England Suffrage Society, she was a committee member of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, led by the veteran Millicent Fawcett, as well as Secretary for the Manchester National Society for Women's Suffrage.

In 1896 she met Irish poet Eva Gore-Booth when they both were staying at Scottish writer George Macdonald's guest house in Bordighera, Italy. They became lifelong lovers. Together with Eva, she supported the cause of women in various fields such as flower sellers, circus performers, barmaids and coal mine pit girls.

They were prominent pacifists during the First World War, working in the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace. Among other things they helped support the wives and children of imprisoned conscientious objectors. After the war they became members of the Committee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment and worked for prison reform.

She was asthmatic and short-sighted, and little is known of her final years. Constance Markievicz, Eva Gore-Booth's sister, wrote of her: "The more one knows her, the more one loves her, and I feel so glad Eva and she were together, and so thankful that her love was with Eva to the end."


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  1. Gifford Lewis (1988), Eva Gore-Booth and Esther Roper, Pandora, ISBN 0863581595