Fry, Elizabeth

  • Gil SkidmoreEmail author
Living reference work entry


Elizabeth Fry (1780–1845) was a prison reformer, known as the Angel of Newgate. Born into a wealthy Quaker family in Norwich, she remains probably the most influential and well-known Victorian Quaker woman. Her work focused on more humane prison legislation and founded societies to reform the treatment of prisoners, especially female prisoners. Alongside her philanthropic work, she wrote extensively on prison reform and kept detailed diaries of her efforts.


Elizabeth Fry (1780–1845) – the prison reformer known as “the Angel of Newgate” – is perhaps the one Quaker woman of whom most people have heard. Her parents both came from well-established Quaker families, her mother Catherine from the Barclays and her father John from the Gurneys. Both were prosperous banking families, and John was a partner in the Gurney bank and owned a wool spinning factory. Fry was born into a wealthy family, established members of the county set in Norfolk, well-known in Norwich public...


Elizabeth Fry Quakerism Prisons Committees Disownment Norwich Newgate 
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  1. Matheuszik, D.L. 2013. The angel paradox: Elizabeth Fry and the role of gender and religion in nineteenth-century Britain. PhD thesis, Vanderbilt University, Nashville.Google Scholar
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  3. Rose, J. 1980. Elizabeth Fry, a biography. London: Macmillan.Google Scholar
  4. Skidmore, G., ed. 2005. Elizabeth Fry: A quaker life. Lanham: Altamira Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Independent ScholarSkiptonUK

Section editors and affiliations

  • Emily Morris
    • 1
  1. 1.St. Thomas More CollegeUniversity of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada