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‘The Woman Who Dared’: Major Mabel St Clair Stobart

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Abstract

The moment was 1907. The self-confessed feminist was Mabel St Clair Stobart, a woman who, as she states, had good reason to understand that women had the ability to achieve much more than convention gave them credit for. She had lately returned from a four-year-long adventure in the Transvaal, during which she and her husband St Clair (a masculinist by her own admission) had set up a frontier farm, Mabel herself taking charge of a ‘Kaffir’ store that sold a range of products to the local people as well as to white settlers and missionaries. This move to Africa had been precipitated by a financial disaster that had put an end to the comfortable married life filled with golf, tennis, fishing and other leisure pursuits that the Stobarts had enjoyed for almost 20 years.

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At this moment the ‘Votes For Women’ agitation was sadly upsetting equilibriums. I had been outside the range of suffrage politics and had never even heard it discussed,… but I could not help being a feminist, for I knew from personal experience that women could do things of which tradition had supposed they were incapable. I viewed the situation from an angle of my own. My feeling was that if women desired to have a share in the government of the country, and this seemed a legitimate ambition, they ought to be capable of taking a share in the defence of their country. (Stobart 1935: 83)

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References

Unattributed newspaper articles

  • Bristol Evening Times (30 December 1915) ‘3 Days Without Water; Serbians Had to Eat and Sleep on Snow; Story of Lady Who was Made a Major’.

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  • Daily Record (2 September 1914) ‘British Lady’s Adventure’.

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  • Evening News (5 November 1915) ‘The Lady on the Black Horse by One Who Knows Her’.

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  • The Globe (13 August 1914) Untitled article by M. A. Stobart.

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  • New York Evening Sun (1 September 1917) ‘Militarism Is Maleness Run Riot: And it can Only be Destroyed With Woman’s Aid, Declares Pioneer Field Hospital Worker’.

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© 2007 Angela K. Smith

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Smith, A.K. (2007). ‘The Woman Who Dared’: Major Mabel St Clair Stobart. In: Fell, A.S., Sharp, I. (eds) The Women’s Movement in Wartime. Palgrave Macmillan, London. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230210790_10

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230210790_10

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, London

  • Print ISBN: 978-1-349-28576-1

  • Online ISBN: 978-0-230-21079-0

  • eBook Packages: Palgrave History CollectionHistory (R0)