Anne Cobden-Sanderson

Anne Cobden-Sanderson

Anne Cobden-Sanderson in 1907
Born (1853-03-26)26 March 1853
London, UK
Died 2 November 1926(1926-11-02) (aged 73)
Hammersmith, UK
Nationality British
Spouse(s) T. J. Cobden-Sanderson
Parent(s) Richard Cobden

Anne Cobden-Sanderson or Julia Sarah Anne Cobden (26 March 1853 – 2 November 1926) was a British socialist and suffragette.


Cobden was born in London in 1853 to Catherine Anne and the radical politician Richard Cobden. After her father died, she was educated at schools in Britain and Germany. She lived for a time at the home of George MacDonald and later at the home of William Morris. In 1882 she married the out-of-work barrister T. J. Sanderson, and they both took the surname Cobden-Sanderson.[1]

Anne was concerned that her husband was thinking rather than doing, and she suggested that he take up book-binding. They were already in the social circle of William Morris and Jane Burdon, and it was her husband who first coined the term "Arts and Crafts". Morris had already established the Kelmscott Press when Anne's husband and a photographer named Emery Walker agreed to found a press. The press was named the Doves Press and the profits were to be shared, but it was Anne who put up the capital of £1600 to start the business. Crucially, it was agreed that should the partnership end, Walker would be entitled to a copy of the font that they proposed to create. The Doves Type was created and Anne's single-minded husband used strict "Arts and Crafts" principles to create the Doves Bible, which was sold at a £500 profit. By 1906 the partners had fallen out over Walker's lack of interest and her husband's obsessive interest. Despite the agreement, Anne's husband did not deliver a copy of the font and instead arranged for every copy of the design to be dropped into the River Thames.[2]

Cobden-Sanderson at 10 Downing Street shortly before her 1909 arrest.

Cobden-Sanderson worked for the Independent Labour Party and was arrested as a suffragette in October 1906. George Bernard Shaw wrote a letter of protest in September and she was released the following month.[1] She was a founding member of the Women's Freedom League.[3] She also helped form the Women's Tax Resistance League in 1909.

In 1907 she was invited to speak in the United States by Harriet Stanton Blatch to tell American suffragettes about the protest methods used in Britain. She addressed the first meeting of the Bryn Mawr College Suffrage Society using the title "Why I went to Prison".[3] She went to America with her husband and, while she spoke to women's rights groups, he was welcomed as an "Arts and Crafts" celebrity.[1]

In 1922 her husband died. After his death, Cobden-Sanderson paid a large sum to settle a dispute with Emery Walker. This money was to compensate him for the loss of the typeface that her husband had thrown into the Thames when his partnership with Walker ended.[4]

Cobden-Sanderson died in Hammersmith in 1926.[1]


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  1. 1 2 3 4 A. C. Howe, (Julia Sarah) 'Anne Cobden-Sanderson (1853–1926)', Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 28 July 2015
  2. "The Fight Over the Doves". The Economist. 21 Dec 2013. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  3. 1 2 The Suffrage Cause and Bryn Mawr – The British Lecturers, Brynmawr College, Retrieved 28 July 2015
  4. Anne Cobden Sanderson, Spartacus, Retrieved 27 July 2015
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