96 Old Church St, Chelsea, London SW3 6EP, UK
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Wilhelmina Hay Abbott (22 May 1884 – 17 October 1957), also known by the name "Elizabeth Abbott," was a Scottish suffragist, editor, and feminist lecturer, and wife of author George Frederick Abbott. Suffragist, editor, and feminist lecturer, travelling extensively and a key player in the organisations of the time including Lady Rhondda’s Six Point Group and the Open Door Council. Cicely Hamilton herself lived entirely in a world of relationships with women, although discerning her closest intimacies is hard because, like other public women of the time, she left, probably deliberately, few traces of evidence – an uninformative autobiography, but no private papers or diaries and few letters. Her most intimate friend was probably Elizabeth Abbott, a married Scottish suffragist and a leading figure in a number of suffrage organizations. Elizabeth had been the executor of Chrystal MacMillan’s will and Cicely Hamilton left her the copyright of all her books and plays.
Wilhelmina Hay Lamond was born in Dundee, Scotland. Her father, Andrew Lamond, was a jute manufacturer. She trained in London for secretarial and accounting work, but then attended University College London in the summer of 1907, where she pursued a broader course of ethics, modern philosophy, and economics. As a young woman she began using the first name "Elizabeth."
In 1909 Elizabeth Lamond started organizing for the Edinburgh National Society for Women's Suffrage. In that role she campaigned in the Orkney Islands. She took a position on the executive committee of the Scottish Federation of Women's Suffrage Societies the next year, along with Elsie Inglis. During World War I she toured extensively in India, Australia, and New Zealand as a lecturer, for two years, raising money for the Scottish Women's Hospitals. Of her travels, she declared, "I received unbounded hospitality."
She married travel writer and war correspondent George Frederick Abbott in 1911. They had one son, Jasper A. R. Abbott, born that same year.
After the war, she served as an officer of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance, and edited its newsletter, Jus Suffragii. Concerned primarily about economic opportunities for women, she joined Chrystal MacMillan, Lady Rhondda, Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and others in founding the Open Door Council (later Open Door International) in 1926. Abbott chaired the Open Door Council in 1929. She also chaired the Association for Moral and Social Hygiene for ten years, and was active with the organization for much longer.
In 1934 Elizabeth moved to Penbury, Bucks, previously living in Chelsea and Burgess Hill. Elizabeth was also a member of the Women’s Automotive and Sports Association.
In her later years, she continued work on women's economic security, as co-author of The Woman Citizen and Social Security (1943), which responded to gender inequalities in the Beveridge Report. Wilhelmina "Elizabeth" Hay Abbott died in 1957, age 73.
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