1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith

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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 4
Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith
See also Barbara Bodichon on Wikipedia; and our 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica disclaimer.

BODICHON, BARBARA LEIGH SMITH (1827-1891), English educationalist, was born at Watlington, Norfolk, on the 8th of April 1827, the daughter of Benjamin Smith (1783-1860), long M.P. for Norwich. She early showed a force of character and catholicity of sympathy that later won her a prominent place among philanthropists and social workers. In 1857 she married an eminent French physician, Dr Eugène Bodichon, and, although wintering many years in Algiers, continued to lead the movements she had initiated in behalf of Englishwomen. In 1869 she published her Brief Summary of the Laws of England concerning Women, which had a useful effect in helping forward the passage of the Married Women's Property Act. In 1866, co-operating with Miss Emily Davies, she matured a scheme for the extension of university education to women, and the first small experiment at Hitchin developed into Girton College, to which Mme Bodichon gave liberally of her time and money. With all her public interests she found time for society and her favourite art of painting. She studied under William H. Hunt, and her water-colours, exhibited at the Salon, the Academy and elsewhere, showed great originality and talent, and were admired by Corot and Daubigny. Her London salon included many of the literary and artistic celebrities of her day; she was George Eliot's most intimate friend, and, according to her, the first to recognize the authorship of Adam Bede. Her personal appearance is said to be described in that of Romola. Mme Bodichon died at Robertsbridge, Sussex, on the 11th of June 1891.