Volume 11 Number 3.
The publication of Elizabeth Fry was sponsored by the Provincial Council of the Ontario Elizabeth Fry Societies to commemorate the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of this prominent Quaker reformer. Eunice Smillie is a member of the board of directors, and former president of the Hamilton Elizabeth Fry Society.
This biography of Elizabeth Fry follows her life from her birth in 1780 to her death in 1845. Smillie covers the history of the Quakers and the Society of Friends in the initial few pages, to give the reader some background to Fry's religious beliefs and their influence on her life and work. Fry's childhood, family, and marriage are dealt with very briefly. The author emphasizes her work, dwelling on Fry's remarkable achievements in prison reform, particularly of the conditions and treatment of women inmates at London's Newgate prison.
There are aspects of this intelligent and courageous woman's life that Smillie glosses over. Fry's religious convictions and conflicts are not dealt with in any depth. Her marriage and role as mother to eleven children and her conflict between her commitment to her work and duties as a wife and mother are aspects of the life of this thoughtful, and successful eighteenth-century woman that would be of great interest to a modern-day reader.
This biography does not offer new dimensions to a portrait of Elizabeth Fry. It is a good narration of her impressive achievements within the framework of a chronology of her life, rather than an insightful discussion of her life, times and motivations. A bibliography with annotations is included at the end of the text.
Carol L. Smith, Montreal, QB.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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