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Henrietta Müller

(Frances) Henrietta Müller (1851 - 1906) was a member of the Men and Women’s Club and a friend of Schreiner’s during the 1880s. Her family, including her sister Eva (later McLaren), had migrated from Chile to Britain, and she was educated at Girton College, Cambridge. She was involved in supporting women’s trade union activities including in relation to printing and also became a poor law guardian. Müller was one of the most outspoken of the women members of the Men and Women’s Club and thought its activities and discussions were over-dominated by the men, who also failed to recognize their behavior might be among the problems women faced. She left the Club as a consequence. As well as having a London house and keeping a boat on the river Thames, the well-off Müller then established and edited  (under the name Helena B. Temple) the Women’s Penny Paper, which published on a wide array of women’s and feminist topics and included work by Olive Schreiner, Amy Levy and Frances Lord among others.

There are many in-passing comments about Henrietta Muller in Schreiner’s letters to other people and they were clearly very friendly with each other, and it was to Schreiner that Muller explained why she was leaving the Men and Women’s Club, news which seems not to have surprised Schreiner, as such discussions were in the air. Schreiner wrote on 6 April 1888 to Edward Carpenter, on the back of an undated letter from Henrietta Muller, in which she wrote that she was leaving the Club because “The men lay down the law, the women ?resent in silence and submit in silence - There is no ?debate at all” and that “Men are like gardeners who have nailed & pruned & clipt women into fantastic shapes
” .  It is very likely that there was a correspondence between Schreiner and Muller, although none have been traced.

For more information see:
Rosemary Auchmuty (2004) ‘Müller, (Frances) Henrietta (1845/6-1906)’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/56279
Linda Walker (2004) ‘McLaren, Eva Maria (1852/3-1921)’ Oxford Dictionary of National Biography Oxford University Press http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/56261
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collection icon Sheffield City Libraries, Archives & Local Studies: Edward Carpenter Collection, Archives & Local Studies, Sheffield City Libraries: The Edward Carpenter Collection is held ... Show/Hide Collection Letters
collection icon University College London: Special Collections at UCL is one of the leading university collections of manuscripts, archives and rare books in the UK. It... Show/Hide Collection Letters
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