Eva Gore-Booth

Posted on October 31, 2010

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Labor activist, feminist and poet Eva Gore-Booth was the daughter of Sir Henry Gore-Booth, a member of the Irish gentry, born in county Sligo, Ireland in 1870. Early on, she and her sister Constance (Countess Markeiwicz, Irish patriot, politician and one of the first women to ever hold a cabinet post) became advocates for the poor, and in 1896, on a visit to Italy for her health, she met Esther Roper and fell in love. Roper, the daugher of a factory worker and an Irish immigrant, was active in the suffrage movement, and Gore-Booth left her home in Ireland in 1897 and moved in with Roper in 1897 – they would live together for the next 29 years until Gore-Booth’s death in 1926.

Gore-Booth quickly became an active suffragist herself, as well as becoming heavily involved in labor issues. She and Roper held important positions in the women’s suffrage movement – Roper in the North of England Society for Women’s Suffrage, and the two of them as joint secretaries for the Lancashire and Cheshire Women’s Textile and Other Workers Representation Committee, and were part of the Committee for the Abolition of Capitol Punishment as well as worked for prison reform.

Although Gore-Booth remained active in the suffrage movement, campaigning against Winston Churchill in 1908, she and Roper resigned from the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies over the organization’s support of the war as she and Roper were pacifists.

Gore-Booth produced poetry that was acclaimed throughout her life – Yeats, a childhood friend, was a fan – with the first poems published in book form in 1898; she also wrote a number of plays, books and a number of pamphlets. In addition, in 1916 she and Roper published a journal called Urania, which advocated for homosexuality.

She died at age 56 at the home she shared in Hampstead, London with Roper.

Eva Gore-Booth has a page on Wikipedia, here, as well as at the Poetry Foundation, here, where you can read some of her poems. She also has an author page on Amazon, here.

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