Bessie Rayner Parkes

Bessie Rayner Parkes

About Bessie Rayner Parkes

Bessie Rayner Parkes was born on June 16, 1829. She was an English feminist who fought for women's rights. She was also a poet, essayist, and journalist.

Parkes wrote pamphlets on women's rights with Barbara Bodichon, who ran a progressive school in London. One of the pamphlets was Remarks on the Education of Girls (1856). A couple years later, these two women founded The Englishwoman's Review, where Parkes was the editor. It was used to fill a need Parkes and Bodichon felt there was for educated women. Parkes made it very clear in her writing that there was a need to improve education for girls, as times were changing and they were no longer all being supported by husbands or fathers.

In 1866, Parkes and Bodichon formed the first Women's Suffrage Committee. A petition they created was presented to the House of Commons.

Parkes married Louis Belloc when she was 38, and they lived in France. Their marriage lasted five years until her husband's sudden death in 1872. Parkes and her children moved back to London after Belloc's death. Dealing with her husband's death was hard on her, and she lost interest in fighting for women's rights.

Bessie Rayner Parkes

Both of her children, Marie Belloc Lowndes and Hilaire Belloc, went on to be writers. Ironically, her son was against women's rights. He didn't not believe they should have the vote or experience higher education.

During her lifetime, Parkes published 14 books, all in varying genres, a booklet on women's rights, and dozens of articles. Her work was well received during her lifetime.

Bessie Rayner Parkes passed away on March 23, 1925.


    Poems by Bessie Rayner Parkes

  • Peace

    in Famous Nature Poems

    THE steadfast coursing of the stars,
    The waves that ripple to the shore,
    The vigorous trees which year by year
    Spread upwards more and more;

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    • Rating 4.25
    • Poem of the Day
    Featured Shared Story

    A beautiful and inspired poem about a sometimes elusive quality that we all so much need to permeate our hearts. Maybe it has something to do with understanding and being understood and...

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  • New-year's Eve and New-year's Day

    in Famous Holiday Poems

    Good bye, Old Year!
    And with thee take
    Thanks for the gifts to every land
    Thou broughtest in thy bounteous hand,...

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    • Rating 4.16
  • Music

    in Famous Nature Poems

    Sweet melody amidst the moving spheres
    Breaks forth, a solemn and entrancing sound,
    A harmony whereof the earth's green hills
    Give but the faintest echo; yet is there

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    • Rating 4.18

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