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Isabel Fry: An introduction

An introduction to the Isabel Fry archive

Collection snapshot


Page from Isabel Fry's diary

Who is Isabel Fry?
Isabel Fry (1869-1958) was an educationist and social activist. She founded, and was headmistress of, two experimental schools: The Farmhouse School, Mayortorne Manor, Wendover, and later, Church Farm, Buckland, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. She came from a famous reforming Quaker background and was the daughter of Sir Edward Fry (1827-1918), jurist, and sister of (Sara) Margery Fry (1874-1958), penal reformer, and Roger Eliot Fry (1866-1934), artist and critic.

The collection mainly consists of a set of Isabel Fry's personal journals and notebooks dating from 1878-1958. These are supplemented by letters to her friend Eugénie Dubois, c.1930-1958, and a few publications and photographs. The journals reflect all aspects of her life and career including her teaching activities and educational ideas; her preoccupations with political and social affairs, including political reform and emancipation in the East and in Turkey and Persia; her friendships with liberal intellectuals; and her involvement with anti-militarist movements, slum clearance, socialism and feminism. They provide a day-to-day account of living through some of the most eventful and tumultuous times of the early 20th century, providing a commentary on the two world wars from a pacifist residing on the home front. Also included are details of her relationship with her family, friends and their wider social circle.

Subject Guide

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