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Marie Stopes

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Subject: Charlotte Carmichael Stopes, Reginald Ruggles Gates, St George's School, Edinburgh, Paleontology/On this day/October, University College London
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Marie Stopes

Marie Stopes
Marie Stopes in her laboratory, 1904
Born Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes
15 October 1880 (1880-10-15)
Died Did not recognize date. Try slightly modifying the date in the first parameter. (aged 77)
Dorking, Surrey
Breast cancer
Nationality British
Fields Medicine
Institutions University of Manchester
Alma mater
Known for Family planning
Spouse Reginald Ruggles Gates (m. 1911; annulled 1914)
Humphrey Verdon Roe (m. 1918; ? 1935)
Children Harry Stopes-Roe

Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes (15 October 1880 – 2 October 1958) was a British author, palaeobotanist and campaigner for eugenics and women's rights. She made significant contributions to plant palaeontology and coal classification, and was the first female academic on the faculty of the University of Manchester.

With her second husband Humphrey Verdon Roe, Stopes founded the first birth control clinic in Britain. Stopes edited the newsletter Birth Control News, which gave explicit practical advice. Her sex manual Married Love was controversial and influential, and brought the subject of birth control into wide public discourse. Stopes opposed abortion, arguing that the prevention of conception was all that was needed.[1]


  • Early life and education 1
  • Scientific research 2
  • Married Love 3
  • New Gospel 4
  • Family planning 5
    • The Marie Stopes International organisation 5.1
    • Opposition and libel case 5.2
  • Literary life 6
  • Views on abortion 7
  • Eugenics 8
  • Personal life 9
  • Selected works 10
  • See also 11
  • References 12
  • Bibliography 13
  • External links 14

Early life and education

Blue plaque commemorating Marie Stopes at the University of Manchester

Stopes was born in

  • Wikisource logo Works written by or about Marie Carmichael Stopes at Wikisource
  • Works by Marie Stopes at Project Gutenberg
  • Works by or about Marie Stopes at Internet Archive
  • Works by Marie Stopes at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks)
  • "Situating Stopes", by Lesley A. Hall, Wellcome Library, London
  • "Blast from the Past", by Ingrid Birker, McGill University
  • 'The Colonisation of a Dried River Bed' – PDF file of Marie Stopes's 1903 article
  • Marie Stopes International
  • Marie Stopes International UK
  • Marie Stopes International Australia
  • Marie Stopes International México
  • Marie Stopes International South Africa
  • Pictures of Marie Stopes and Thomas Hardy at her Portland, Dorset home
  • Archival material relating to Marie Stopes listed at the UK National Archives
  • postage stamp to Marie Stopes

External links


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ Fraser, H. E. & C. J. Cleal, "The contribution of British women to Carboniferous palaeobotany during the first half of the 20th century", in p.56.
  7. ^ The interior of Antarctica, being perpetually below 0 °C, is not suitable for life, so the presence of fossils provides evidence of major changes in biological conditions there during geologic time.
  8. ^
  9. ^ . (also printed in The Role of Women in the History of Geology edited by C. V. Burek & B. Higgs published by the Geological Society, London (2007) pp.232,236).
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  14. ^ Burke, Lucy, "In Pursuit of an Erogamic Life" in p.254.
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  28. ^ Rose, J. (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. London: Faber and Faber Limited. Page 135. "In the two eventful years since they had met and married, Marie and Humphrey had discussed birth control, and looked for a way to work in that field. Tired of delays and timidity of other birth controllers, the couple decided to open their own clinic, and by 1920 they had begun to look for suitable premises, both passionately involved."
  29. ^
  30. ^ Rose, J. (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. London: Faber and Faber Limited. Page 153.
  31. ^ Box, M. (Ed.). (1967). The Trial of Marie Stopes. London: Femina Books Ltd. Page 76.
  32. ^
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  34. ^ Rose, J. (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. London: Faber and Faber Limited. Page 145.
  35. ^
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  38. ^
  39. ^ Box, M. (Ed.). (1967). The Trial of Marie Stopes. London: Femina Books Ltd. Page 94.
  40. ^
  41. ^ a b Halliday Sutherland, Birth Control: A Statement of Christian Doctrine against the Neo-Malthusians New York, PJ Kennedy and Sons, 1922.
  42. ^ a b c d
  43. ^
  44. ^
  45. ^
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  48. ^ Sullivan, Esther Beth, "Vectia, Man-Made Censorship, and the Drama of Marie Stopes" in Theatre Survey, 46:1 (May 2005), p.93.
  49. ^
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  56. ^ a b
  57. ^
  58. ^ British Library 58743, Folios 36–37.
  59. ^ viewed 27/1/2014
  60. ^ The Racial Imperatives of Sex: Birth Control and Eugenics in Britain, the United States and Australia in the Interwar Years by Jane Carey, Monash Women’s History Review 21, no. 5(2012): 733-752. “...she founded the Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress to spread the eugenic birth control cause across the country, and indeed around the world. The first aim of this group was ‘the illumination of sex life as a basis of racial progress.’”
  61. ^ The Galton Lecture 1996: Marie Stope, Eugenics and the Birth Control Movement by Richard A Soloway, published by The Galton Institute ISBN 0-9504066-2-7. Page 54.
  62. ^ a b
  63. ^ See last paragraph of Idiots Act 1886
  64. ^ a b c
  65. ^ Rose, J. (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. London: Faber and Faber Limited. Page 138.
  66. ^ Rose, J. (1992). Marie Stopes and the Sexual Revolution. London: Faber and Faber Limited. Page 161.
  67. ^ Diane Paul, Controlling Human Heredity (1995), pp. 84–91 at the Wayback Machine (archived 7 June 2010), Virginia Tech.: Eugenics in Germany
  68. ^
  69. ^
  70. ^ a b c
  71. ^
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  74. ^
  75. ^ (Page number?)
  76. ^ a b
  77. ^
  78. ^ In Rose's words,
  79. ^ Peter Pugh (2005) Barnes Wallis Dambuster. Thriplow: Icon ISBN 1-84046-685-5; p. 178
  80. ^
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See also

Selected works

Stopes died on 2 October 1958, aged 77, from breast cancer at her home in Dorking, Surrey. Her will left her clinic to the Eugenics Society; most of her estate went to the Royal Society of Literature. Her son Harry received her copy of the Greater Oxford Dictionary and other small items.[84][85] An English Heritage blue plaque commemorates Stopes at 28 Cintra Park, Upper Norwood, where she lived from 1880 to 1892.[86]

In 1923, Marie Stopes bought the Old Higher Lighthouse on the Isle of Portland, Dorset, as an escape from the difficult climate of London during her court case against H.G. Sutherland. The island's Jurassic fossil forests provided her with endless interest.[81] She founded and curated the Portland Museum, which opened in 1930.[82] The cottage housing the museum was an inspiration behind The Well-Beloved, a novel by Thomas Hardy, who was a friend of Marie Stopes.[83]

In 1918 she married Humphrey Verdon Roe, the financial backer of her most famous work, Married Love: A New Contribution to the Solution of the Sex Difficulties. Their son, Harry Stopes-Roe, was born in 1924.[75] Stopes disliked Harry's companion, Mary Eyre Wallis, who was the daughter of the noted engineer Barnes Wallis. When Harry announced their engagement in October 1947, his mother set about "to try to sabotage the union".[76] She found fault with Mary and wrote to Mary's father to complain.[77] She tried to get Humphrey's support against the marriage, arguing that any grandchildren might inherit Mary's myopia. He was not persuaded.[76] Later, believing "he had betrayed her by this marriage", Stopes cut him out of any substantial inheritance.[78][79][80]

In 1911, Stopes married Canadian geneticist Reginald Ruggles Gates. She had maintained her name out of principle; her work was blooming while his was struggling. He was disturbed by what he considered her suffragette support. He failed to assert his position as head of the household and was frustrated.[73] After another year, she sought legal advice about ending the marriage. Not receiving useful help, she read the legal code seeking a way to get a divorce.[74] The marriage had fallen apart amid squabbling over the house and rent. On 11 May 1913, Stopes filed for divorce on the grounds that the marriage had never been consummated. Gates left England the following year and did not contest the divorce.

Stopes had a relationship, mainly through correspondence, with Japanese botanist Kenjiro Fujii, whom she met at the University of Munich in 1904 while researching her Ph.D. In 1907, during her 1904–1910 tenure at Manchester University, she arranged to research in Japan, allowing her to be with Fujii. The relationship ended.

Personal life

[72] to offer a slogan, "Fight the Battle of Britain in Berlin's Air".Winston Churchill On 12 July 1940 she wrote to [70]She wanted her poems to be distributed through the German birth control clinics, but the letter has been interpreted as showing sympathy for Hitler. However, according to Rose, any sympathy she may have had would have dissipated when Hitler closed the clinics.

Dear Herr Hitler,
Love is the greatest thing in the world: so will you accept from me these [poems] that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them? The young must learn love from the particular 'till they are wise enough for the universal. I hope too that you yourself may find something to enjoy in the book.[71]

According to Ruth Hall, Stopes wrote poetry expressing her anti-Prussian, anti-Catholic and anti-Russian views.[70] In August 1939, Stopes sent a copy of her book Love Songs for Young Lovers to Adolf Hitler with the following cover letter:

Catholics, Prussians,
The Jews and the Russians,
All are a curse,
Or something worse...
—Stopes, Marie; 1942.[70]

In 1935 Stopes attended the International Congress for Population Science in Berlin.[67] She was more than once accused of being anti-Semitic by other pioneers of the birth control movement.[68] During the Second World War, Stopes received a letter from friends whom she had invited to lunch asking whether they could bring with them a Jewish refugee from Nazi Germany in their care; Stopes replied they could not; it would offend her other guests.[69]

She received 150 replies.
"I agree with the present position of breeding chiefly from the C3 population and burdening and discouraging the A1 is nationally deplorable, and if I am elected to Parliament, I will press the Ministry of Health to give such scientific information through the Ante-natal Clinics, Welfare Centres and other institutions in its control as will curtail the C3 and increase the A1"[66]
In 1922, she sent a declaration to the candidates in the upcoming parliamentary election, asking them to sign it. It read: [65]Stopes also campaigned to get eugenic ideas adopted by those in power. In 1920, she sent a copy of "Radiant Motherhood" to Prime Minister Lloyd George's secretary and drew attention to the chapter on eugenics (Chapter XX)

In the chapter, Stopes says the leading causes of "racial degeneration" are overcrowding and sexually transmitted disease.[64] It concludes somewhat vaguely, that racial consciousness needs to be increased so that, "women of all classes [may] have the fear and dread of undesired maternity removed from them ..." to usher in the promised utopia, described throughout.[64]

Those who are grown up in the present active generations, the matured and hardened, with all their weaknesses and flaws, cannot do very much, though they may do something with themselves. They can, however, study the conditions under which they came into being, discover where lie the chief sources of defect, and eliminate those sources of defect from the coming generation so as to remove from those who are still to be born the needless burdens the race has carried.[64]

In Stopes' book Radiant Motherhood, she advocated "the sterilisation of those totally unfit for parenthood [to be] made an immediate possibility, indeed made compulsory".[62] The "unfit" included "the inferior, the depraved, and the feeble-minded".[62] Stopes used terminology in accordance with the Mental Deficiency Act 1913, which categorised people with mental health problems and disabilities as "idiots", "imbeciles", "moral defectives" and "feeble-minded".[63] She contributed a chapter to The Control of Parenthood (1920), comprising a manifesto for her circle of Eugenicists, arguing for a "utopia" to be achieved through "racial purification":

"If Stopes' general interest in birth control was a logical consequence of her romantic preoccupation with compatible sexuality within blissful marriage, her particular efforts to provide birth control for the poor had far more to do with her eugenic concerns about the impending "racial darkness" that the adoption of contraception promised to illuminate."[61]
According to historian Richard Soloway's The Galton Lecture in 1996: [56] it dispensed the so-called "Pro-Race" cervical cap.[60] was established in 1921 to further eugenic aims;Mother's Clinic The [42] to "promote eugenic birth control", in part because "the Society refused to place birth control prominently on its platform".Society for Constructive Birth Control and Racial Progress The same year, she founded the [59] and became a fellow in 1921.[58] in 1912Eugenics SocietyStopes attended the inaugural congress of the

According to June Rose, Stopes was "an elitist, an idealist, interested in creating a society in which only the best and the beautiful should survive" [56] Francis Galton, both through the British Association for the Advancement of Science and socially through her father.[57]


Stopes was strongly against the termination of a pregnancy; during her lifetime her clinics did not offer abortions. Stopes thought birth control was the only means families should use to limit their number of offspring. Nurses at Stopes' clinic had to sign a declaration not to "impart any information or lend any assistance whatsoever to any person calculated to lead to the destruction in utero of the products of conception".[54] When Stopes learnt that one of Avro Manhattan's friends had had an abortion, Stopes accused him of "murdering" the unborn child.[55]

Views on abortion

Stopes published several volumes of poetry in her later years.

Stopes wrote poems and plays; during the First World War she wrote increasingly didactic plays. Her first major success was Our Ostriches, a play that dealt with society's approach to working class women being forced to produce babies throughout their lives.[51] The play ran for three months at the Royal Court Theatre. It hurriedly produced in place of Vectia another of Stopes' plays.[52] Vectia is an autobiographical attempt to analyse the failure of Stopes' first marriage. Because of its themes of sex and impotence, it was denied a licence to be performed, despite Stopes's frequent efforts.[53] In 1926, Stopes had Vectia printed under the title A Banned Play and a Preface on Censorship. None of her later plays reached the stage.

Stopes was acquainted with many literary figures of the day. She had longstanding correspondences with Aylmer Maude, and argued with H.G. Wells. Noël Coward wrote a poem about her, and she edited Lord Alfred Douglas' letters. She unsuccessfully petitioned Neville Chamberlain to gain for Douglas a civil list pension; the petition was signed by Arthur Quiller-Couch, John Gielgud, Evelyn Waugh and Virginia Woolf, among others.[49] The general secretary of the Poetry Society, Muriel Spark, had an altercation with Stopes; according to Mark Bostridge, Spark "found herself lamenting that Stopes's mother had not been better informed on [birth control]".[50]

Coward's poem to Marie Stopes

If through a mist of awful fears,
Your mind in anguish gropes,
Dry up your panic-stricken tears
And fly to Marie Stopes.

If you have missed life's shining goal
And mixed with sex perverts and Dopes,
For normal soap to cleanse your soul
Apply to Marie Stopes.

And if perhaps you fail all round
And lie among your shattered hopes,
Just raise your body from the ground,
And crawl to Marie Stopes.[48]

Literary life

Jeanie, Jeanie, full of hopes,
Read a book by Marie Stopes,
But, to judge from her condition,
She must have read the wrong edition.[47]

Stopes was even remembered in a playground rhyme:

The judge ignored the general tenor of the jury's response and found in Sutherland's favour based on the response to #2. It was a moral victory for Stopes as the press saw it, and she appealed.[44] On 20 July, the Court of Appeal reversed the previous decision, awarding the £100 to Stopes, but the Catholic community mobilised to support Sutherland—himself a Catholic—for a final appeal to the House of Lords on 21 November 1924. The Lords' irrevocable decision was in Sutherland's favour. The cost for Stopes was vast;[45] but publicity and book sales partially compensated her losses. The trial had made birth control a public topic and the number of clients visiting the clinic doubled.[46]

  1. Were the words complained of defamatory of the plaintiff? Yes.
  2. Were they true in substance and in fact? Yes.
  3. Were they fair comment? No.
  4. Damages, if any? £100.

Stopes was incensed. The reference to "doctor of German philosophy" sought to undermine Stopes because she was not a medical doctor and, being so soon after the First World War, sought to harness anti-German sentiment. Stopes' work had been associated with Charles Bradlaugh, who had been convicted of obscenity 45 years earlier when he had republished an American Malthusian text in Britain, which "advocated and gave explicit information about contraceptive methods".[42] Stopes challenged Sutherland to a public debate. When Sutherland did not respond, she brought a writ for libel against him.[43] The court case began on 21 February 1923; it was acrimonious. The jury found in favour of Stopes, answering the judge's four questions:

In the midst of a London slum a woman, who is a doctor of German philosophy (Munich), has opened a Birth Control Clinic, where working women are instructed in a method of contraception described by Professor McIlroy as ‘The most harmful method of which I have had experience’. When we remember that millions are being spent by the Ministry of Health and by Local Authorities – on pure milk for necessitous expectant and nursing mothers, on Maternity Clinics to guard the health of mothers before and after childbirth, for the provision of skilled midwives, and on Infant Welfare Centres – it is truly amazing that this monstrous campaign of birth control should be tolerated by the Home Secretary. Charles Bradlaugh was condemned to jail for a less serious crime.[41]
Following attacks on "the essential fallacies of Malthusian teaching", Sutherland's book attacked Stopes. Under the headings "Specially Hurtful to the Poor" and "Exposing the Poor to Experiment", it read:

In 1922, Dr Halliday Sutherland wrote a book called Birth Control: A Statement of Christian Doctrine Against the Neo Malthusians.[41] In the inter-war years, birth control and eugenics were closely related; according to Jane Carey they were "so intertwined as to be synonymous".[42]

Opposition and libel case

The clinics continued to operate after Stopes' death, but by the early 1970s they were in financial difficulties and in 1975 they went into voluntary sexual and reproductive health. The global partnership took over responsibility for the main clinic, and in 1978 it began its work overseas in New Delhi, India. Since then the organisation has grown steadily; today it works in over forty countries, has 452 clinics and has offices in London, Brussels, Melbourne and in the US.

The Marie Stopes International organisation

In 1925, the Mothers' Clinic moved to Central London, where it remains as of 2015. Stopes gradually built up a small network of clinics across Britain, working to fund them. She opened clinics in Leeds in April 1934; Aberdeen in October 1934; Belfast in October 1936; Cardiff in October 1937; and Swansea in January 1943.[40]

Stopes became enthusiastic about a contraceptive device called the "gold pin", which was reportedly successful in America. A few months later, she asked Norman Haire, a young Australian doctor, whether he would be interested in running a clinical trial of the device, as she had two correspondents who wanted to use it. Haire had already investigated the device and found it to be dangerous.[37] Haire became involved in another birth control clinic that opened in Walworth in November 1921; later a rivalry between Stopes and Haire erupted in The Lancet. Haire brought up the gold-pin episode,[38] even though Stopes' clinic had never used it. The issue of the gold pin device resurfaced in the Stopes-Sutherland libel case a few years later.[39]

The free clinic was open to all married women for knowledge about reproductive health. Stopes opposed abortion; she tried to discover alternatives for families and increase knowledge about birth control and the reproductive system. Options included the cervical cap—which was the most popular—coitus interruptus, and spermicides based on soap and oil.[35] Stopes rediscovered the use of olive oil-soaked sponges as an alternative birth control. Olive oil's use as a spermicide dates to Greek and Roman times. Her recipe proved very effective.[36] She tested many of her contraceptives on patients at her clinics.

Three months later she and Roe opened the Mothers' Clinic at 61 Marlborough Road, Holloway, North London, on 17 March 1921.[32] The clinic was run by midwives and supported by visiting doctors;[33] it offered mothers birth control advice and taught them birth control methods and dispensed Stopes own "Pro-Race" brand cervical cap.[34]

“ counteract the steady evil which has been growing for a good many years of the reduction of the birth rate just on the part of the thrifty, wise, well-contented, and the generally sound members of our community, and the reckless breeding from the C.3 end, and the semi-feebleminded, the careless, who are proportionately increasing in our community because of the slowing of the birth rate at the other end of the social scale. Statistics show that every year the birth rate from the worst end of our community is increasing in proportion to the birth rate at the better end, and it was in order to try to right that grave social danger that I embarked upon this work.”[31]

Stopes explained that the object of the Society was: [30]

In 1917, before meeting Marie Stopes, Humphrey Roe offered to endow a birth control clinic attached to St Mary's Hospital in Manchester. He proposed all patients would be married and that no abortions would be done, but his offer was declined.[26][27] This was a serious issue for Roe; after their marriage, he and Stopes planned to open a clinic for poor mothers in London.[28]

Marie Stopes House in Whitfield Street near Tottenham Court Road was Britain's first family planning clinic after moving from its initial location in Holloway in 1925.

Family planning

This lack of success made Stopes contemplate a different approach to taking her message to the poor. A conference of Anglican bishops was due to be held in June; not long before the conference, Stopes had a vision. She called in her secretary and dictated a message addressed to the bishops which began: "My Lords, I speak to you in the name of God. You are his priests. I am his prophet. I speak to you of the mysteries of man and woman."[22] In 1922, Stopes wrote A New Gospel to All Peoples.[23] The bishops were not receptive; among the resolutions carried during the conference was one aimed against "the deliberate cultivation of sexual union" and another against "indecent literature, suggestive plays and films [and] the open or secret sale of contraceptives".[24] The Catholic Church's reaction was more strident,[25] marking the start of a conflict that lasted the rest of Stopes' life.

When Stopes had sufficiently recovered she returned to work in 1920; she engaged in public speaking and responding to letters seeking advice on marriage, sex and birth control.[20] She sent Mrs. E.B. Mayne to disseminate the Letter to Working Mothers to the slums of East London. Mayne approached twenty families a day, but after several months she concluded the working class was mistrustful of well-intentioned meddlers.[21]

New Gospel

On 16 July 1919, Stopes—pregnant and a month overdue—entered a nursing home. Stopes and the doctors clashed over the method of birth—she was not allowed to give birth on her knees. The child was stillborn; the doctors suggested the incident was due to syphilis, but an examination excluded the possibility. Stopes was furious and said her baby had been murdered. She was 38 years old.[19]

The following year, Stopes published A Letter to Working Mothers on how to have healthy children and avoid weakening pregnancies, a condensed version of Wise Parenthood aimed at the poor. It was a 16-page pamphlet and was to be distributed free of charge.[17] Stopes's intended audience had—until this work—been the middle classes. She had shown little interest in, or respect for, the working classes;[18] the Letter was aimed at redressing her bias.

Married Love was published on 26 March 1918; that day, Stopes was visiting Humphrey Roe, who had just returned with a broken ankle from service during World War I after his aeroplane crashed.[15] Less than two months later they were married and Stopes had her first opportunity to practise what she preached in her book. The success of Married Love encouraged Stopes to provide a follow-up; the already written Wise Parenthood: a Book for Married People, a manual on birth control that was published later that year.[16] Many readers wrote to Stopes for personal advice, which she energetically endeavoured to give.

Around the start of her divorce proceedings in 1913, Stopes began to write a book about the way she thought marriage should work. In July 1915, she met Margaret Sanger, who had just given a talk on birth control at a Fabian Society meeting. Stopes showed Sanger her writings and sought her advice about a chapter on contraception.[12] Stopes' book was finished by the end of 1913. She offered it to Blackie and Son, who declined. Several publishers refused the book because they thought it too controversial. When Binnie Dunlop, secretary of the Malthusian League, introduced her to Humphrey Verdon Roe—Stopes' future second husband—in 1917, she received the boost that helped her publish her book. Roe was a philanthropist interested in birth control; he paid Fifield & Co. to publish the work.[13] The book was an instant success, requiring five editions in the first year,[14] and elevated Stopes to national prominence.

Cover of Marie Stopes's bestseller, Married Love.

Married Love

During the First World War, Stopes was engaged in studies of coal for the British government, which culminated in the writing of "Monograph on the constitution of coal" with R.V. Wheeler in 1918. The success of Stopes' work on marriage issues and birth control led her to reduce her scholarly work; her last scientific publications were in 1935. According to W. G. Chaloner, "between 1903 and 1935 she published a series of palaeobotanical papers that placed her among the leading half-dozen British palaeobotanists of her time". Stopes made major contributions to knowledge of the earliest angiosperms, the formation of coal balls and the nature of coal macerals. The classification scheme and terminology she devised for coal are still being used. Stopes also wrote a popular book on palaeobotany, "Ancient Plants" (1910; Blackie, London), in what was called a successful pioneering effort to introduce the subject to non-scientists.[11]

In 1910, the Geological Survey of Canada commissioned Stopes to determine the age of the Fern Ledges, a geological structure at Saint John, New Brunswick. It is part of the Early Pennsylvanian epoch Lancaster Formation. Canadian scholars were divided between dating it to the Devonian age and the Pennsylvanian period. Stopes arrived in North America before Christmas to start her research. On 29 December, she met the Canadian researcher Reginald Ruggles Gates in St. Louis, Missouri; they became engaged two days later. Starting her work on the Fern Ledges in earnest in February 1911, she did geological field work and researched at geological collections in museums, and shipped specimens to England for further investigation. The couple married in March and returned to England on 1 April that year. Stopes continued her research. In mid-1912 she delivered her results, finding for the Pennsylvanian period of the Carboniferous.[9] The Government of Canada published her results in 1914.[10] Later the same year, her marriage to Gates was annulled.

In 1907, Stopes went to Japan on a scientific mission. She spent eighteen months at the Imperial University, Tokyo and explored coal mines on Hokkaido for fossillised plants. She published her Japanese experiences as a diary, called "Journal from Japan: a daily record of life as seen by a scientist", in 1910.

During Stopes' time at Manchester, she studied coal, coal balls and the collection of Glossopteris (seed ferns). This was an attempt to prove the theory of Eduard Suess concerning the existence of Gondwana or Pangaea. A chance meeting with Antarctic explorer Robert Falcon Scott during one of his fund-raising lectures in 1904 brought a possibility of proving Suess' theory. Stopes's passion to prove Suess's theory led her to discuss the possibility of joining his next expedition to Antarctica. She did not join the expedition, but Scott promised to bring back samples of fossils to provide evidence for the theory. [7] Scott died during the 1912 Terra Nova Expedition, but fossils from the Queen Maud Mountains found near Scott's and his companions' bodies provided this evidence.[8]

Scientific research

Stopes attended University College London as a scholarship student, where she studied botany and geology; she graduating with a first class B.Sc. in 1902 after only two years by attending both day and night schools.[6] Following this, Stopes earned a D.Sc. degree from University College London, becoming the youngest person in Britain to have done so. In 1903 she published a study of the botany of the recently dried-up Ebbsfleet River. After carrying out research at University College London, she studied further at the University of Munich, receiving a Ph.D. in palaeobotany in 1904. She was also Fellow and sometime Lecturer in Palaeobotany at University College London and Lecturer in Palaeobotany at the University of Manchester. She held the post at Manchester from 1904 to 1907; in this capacity she became the first female academic of the University.

[1].Olga Fröbe-Kapteyn, where she was a close friend of North London Collegiate School Stopes was later sent to the [5]

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