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Augusta Webster (1837–1894)

Author of Augusta Webster: Portraits and Other Poems

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Augusta Webster, born Julia Augusta Davies in Poole, Dorsetshire, was the daughter of a vice admiral of the Coast Guard and his wife. She spent some of her childhood on board her father's ship in Chichester Harbor, and later at Banff Castle and at Penzance. She studied at the Cambridge School of Art, now known as Anglia Ruskin University. Her first volume of poetry was published in 1860 under the pseudonym Cecil Homes, and her first play, The Auspicious Day, in 1872. In 1863, she married Thomas Webster, a fellow and law lecturer at Trinity College, Cambridge. Mrs. Webster was a strong advocate of women's right to vote, and worked for the London branch of the National Committee for Women's Suffrage. Much of her writing concerned social issues, especially the condition of women. A Housewife’s Opinions (1879), a collection of essays originally written for The Examiner, showed her practical side. Her translations, including those of Prometheus Bound by Æschylus (1866), and Medea by Euripides 1868), revealed her fluency in Greek and a thorough understanding of Greek drama. Her works were popular during her lifetime but fell into obscurity in the 20th century. She was the first female writer in Britain to hold elective office, winning a seat in 1879 and again in 1885 on the London School Board, where she wielded considerable influence. She died at age 57.
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