The New Student's Reference Work/Fry, Elizabeth

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Fry, Elizabeth, was born on May 21, 1780, near Norfolk, the daughter of John Gurney, a banker. She had no deep religious opinions until, at 18, a sermon she heard in the Friends' meeting-house turned her thoughts in that direction. She began working among the poor, and founded a school for poor children, which she managed entirely herself, even when the number of scholars increased to more than 70. She married, and later became a preacher among the Friends. In 1813 she first saw the miserable condition of the 300 women, with their children, in Newgate Prison, and her attention was turned to prison-reform. By her efforts a school and manufactory were begun in the prison, an association formed to improve the prisoners and provide them with religious instruction, and a matron was appointed. Mrs. Fry visited prisons in different parts of Great Britain and on the European continent, everywhere effecting ameliorations. She died at Ramsgate, Oct. 12, 1845. See Life by Mrs. Pitman.