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LGBT People of History 91 - Anne Lister
Anne Lister (1791–1840) was a diarist and prominent landowner from Yorkshire, England. She also was interested in outdoor pursuits and travelling. She was openly Lesbian and kept coded references to her relationships in her diaries. The time at which she lived was not noted for its tolerance of homosexuality and she suffered some harassment. She was responsible for the renovation of Shibden Hall near Halifax. She is often called ‘the first modern lesbian’ because of her self-awareness and openness.
Anne was the eldest daughter of Jeremy Lister and Rebecca Battle. She was educated at home initially before being sent to Ripon and then to York to continue her education. She developed a love for classical literature. At York, she met her first love, Eliza Raine.
In 1826 she inherited Shibden Hall from her uncle and proceeded to renovate and add to the house. She also landscaped the grounds. Her income derived from the estate and she became quite a wealthy woman.
She was described as having a ‘masculine appearance’ and even one of her lovers, Marianne Lawton, was initially embarrassed to be seen in public with her. They were lovers for years. She would dress in black and undertook ‘masculine’ activities like opening a colliery.
In 1832, Anne met Ann Walker and they were extremely close eventually getting ‘married’ in 1834.
Anne kept diaries for nearly 40 years. The parts about her relationships with women were written in a code derived from algebra and Greek. It was deciphered by her descendant, John Lister, who hid them behind a wall in Shibden Hall due to their explicit nature. They were later discovered and published.
Anne died at Kutasi, Georgia of a fever in 1840. Ann Walker had her body returned home, embalmed and buried in a church in Halifax. She inherited Shibden Hall.
Ian and Callum.
With thanks to Wikipedia.
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