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Fry, Isabel, 1869-1958 (educationist and social activist)



Isabel Fry was born in March 1869 into the famous reforming Quaker family, as the daughter of Sir Edward Fry (1827-1918) jurist, and Mariabella Hodgkin. She was one of nine children. Her siblings included Joan Mary Fry (1862-1955), a leading Quaker; Agnes Fry (1868-1957), author; (Sara) Margery Fry (1874-1958), penal reformer and Principal of Somerville College, Oxford; Roger Eliot Fry (1866-1934), artist and critic; and Anna Ruth Fry (1876-1962), pacifist and Quaker activist. In around 1885 Isabel attended school at Highfield and in 1891-2 went to teach at Miss Lawrence's School in Brighton (later named Roedean) with Constance Crommelin. She subsequently moved to London with Constance Crommelin in around 1895 and coached small groups of children in their own homes and also at private schools, including at a school she founded in Marylebone Road. In 1908 Isabel Fry met the Turkish educational and social reformer Halidé Edib and visited Turkey for the first time (and again in 1914), and in 1912 she began to take deprived children to her summer cottage at Great Hampden for holidays and teaching. Isabel Fry founded The Farmhouse School at Mayortorne Manor in Wendover, Buckinghamshire in 1917, an experimental school in which training in farm and household duties were emphasised but left in 1930 to work in settlements for unemployed miners in Wales and Durham with her sister, Joan, and in the Caldicot community in Maidstone, Kent. In 1934 she opened a new experimental school for deprived children and refugees at Church Farm in Buckland near Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire. She published three books, 'Uninitiated' (1895), 'The Day of Small Things' (1901) and 'A Key to Language: A Method of Grammatical Analysis by Means of Graphic Symbols' (1925). Isabel Fry died in 1958.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:


Nora Barlow Letters: 1935, 1935

Reference Code: GBR/0012/MS Add.10286/1/8/36
Scope and Contents Contains 32 letters from Nora to Ida Darwin sent between 12 January and 29 December 1935. Amongst news of family and social engagements, the letters give an account of a visit to Germany (with Andrew Barlow and Ruth Darwin) to seek treatment for Andrew's scoliosis (?) and improve his German language skills. She describes witnessing a marching procession in Köln and gives her impressions of the German people.Includes letters from Hilda Barlow and Ruth Darwin to Ida, and from Isabel Fry...
Dates: 1935
Conditions Governing Access: From the Fonds: Unless restrictions apply, the collection is open for consultation by researchers using the Manuscripts Reading Room at Cambridge University Library. For further details on conditions governing access please contact Information about opening hours and obtaining a Cambridge University Library reader's ticket is available from the Library's website (