66 Annie Besant

In the nineteenth-century throughout Europe, groups arose that attempted to discard entire or partial state religions by embracing more longstanding traditions of humanism and rationalism. Many of their members were associated with leftist political organizations as well. In England Annie Besant (1847-1933) personified this trend: she was a freethinker, spoke regularly on behalf of socialist groups, supported strikes, and was sentenced together with her friend Charles Bradlaugh for publishing a book about birth control.

Annie Besant
London: Swaine, ca 1910
Photograph, 14 x 20