Taylor, Helen (1831–1907)

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Taylor, Helen (1831–1907)

British suffragist and social reformer. Born in 1831; died in 1907 in Torquay, England; daughter of Harriet Taylor (1807–1858) and John Taylor; stepdaughter of John Stuart Mill (the philosopher and economist).

Helen Taylor was born in 1831, the daughter of John Taylor and philosopher Harriet Taylor . She was already an adult when her mother married John Stuart Mill, the utilitarian philosopher, in 1851. John was devoted to her mother. After Mill's retirement in 1858, he and Harriet left for the south of France and then Italy, but Harriet died of lung congestion during the journey and was buried in Avignon cemetery. Helen joined Mill in Avignon, and together they produced The Subjection of Women (1869). She also edited the works of historian Henry Thomas Buckle in 1872 and Mill's autobiography in 1873. After Mill died that year, she moved to London and became involved in politics and social issues; she was considered a proficient public speaker. Taylor was a

member of the London School Board from 1876 to 1884 and helped to institute radical changes in London's industrial schools. She was also president of the Prisoners' Sustentation Fund. From 1880 to 1885, she vigorously opposed the Liberal government's policy of Irish coercion. She was a promoter of land nationalization, taxation of land values, and the women's suffrage movement. In 1881, she helped establish the Democratic Federation. She also campaigned for Parliament in North Camberwell but was denied the nomination in 1885. After that she removed to Avignon before returning to England in 1904. Taylor died at Torquay in 1907.


The Concise Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1992.

Karina L. Kerr , M.A., Ypsilanti, Michigan

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Taylor, Helen (1831–1907)

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Taylor, Helen (1831–1907)