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Erskine, Mary (1629–1707)

Scottish banker and girls' education pioneer. Born in 1629 in Garlet, Clackmannanshire, Scotland; died in 1707 in Scotland; m. Robert Kennedy (writer), 1661 (died 1671); m. James Hair (druggist and apothecary), 1671 (died 1683).

Successful businesswoman and early proponent of girls' education, reverted to maiden name after 2nd husband's death and set up business as a private banker; exceedingly successful, owned extensive rental properties and contributed generously to Edinburgh Merchant Company's foundation of Merchant Maiden Hospital (1694), for purpose of education of daughters of Edinburgh burgesses (Merchant Maiden Hospital became Edinburgh Ladies' College [1869], then Mary Erskine School [1944] and is still extant); was instrumental in founding Trades Maiden Hospital, which unlike similar foundations did not run school but provided boarding and clothing to young women seeking education and training (1704).

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Erskine, Mary (1629–1707)

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