Fry, Elizabeth (Gurney)

Fry, Elizabeth (Gurney), 1780–1845, English prison reformer and philanthropist. Deeply religious, she was recognized as a minister by the Society of Friends (Quakers). From 1813 she worked untiringly to improve the conditions of women in Newgate prison, advocating separation of the sexes, employment, and religious training. The success of her methods at Newgate impressed the government and were tried in other prisons. For several years she traveled throughout Europe, visiting penal institutions. Her other philanthropies included the founding of soup kitchens in London.

See her memoirs, ed. by her daughters (2 vol., rev. and enl. 1848, repr. 1972); biography by J. H. S. Kent (1963); studies by D. Johnson (1969) and J. Whitney (1937, repr. 1972).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2024, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Crime and Law Enforcement: Biographies