Both she and Constance, who later became a prominent Irish revolutionary, reacted against their privileged background and devoted themselves to helping the poor and disadvantaged. In 1895, Eva became seriously ill with threatened tuberculosis. In the following year, while convalescing in Italy, she met and fell in love with Esther Roper at the villa of Scottish writer George MacDonald. Esther Roper was the daughter of Edward Roper, a factory hand who later became a Missionary, and Annie Roper the daughter of Irish immigrants. Esther identified as half Irish. By 1896 Esther had been secretary of the North of England Society for Women's Suffrage for four years.
Eva returned briefly to her home at Lissadell and established a Sligo branch of the Irish Women's Suffrage and Local Government Association. Within months Eva rejected her privileged lifestyle and went to live in Manchester with Esther. They later became joint secretaries of the Women's Textile and Other Workers Representation Committee.
In 1901 and 1902, Eva collected 67,000 signatures from textile workers, on a petition for women's suffrage.
Eva Gore-Booth was an Irish poet and dramatist, and a committed suffragist, social worker and labour activist. She was born at Lissadell House, County Sligo, the younger sister of Constance Gore-Booth, later known as the Countess Markievicz. In 1895 she met and fell in love with Esther Roper at the villa of Scottish writer George MacDonald. As she grew older, Eva was forced to give up active work but continued writing poetry. Esther took care of her and they were together at the end.
Eva Gore-Booth & Esther Roper were buried together under the same headstone in the Churchyard of St. John's Church of Hampstead, London, England
Eva Gore-Booth and her sister Constance
Eva Gore-Booth and her sister Constance
In 1916 Eva and Esther established a radical journal entitled 'Urania,' which expressed their pioneering views of gender and sexuality.
In the aftermath of the 1916 Rising she was instrumental in the campaign to secure the reprieve of her sister who had been sentenced to death for her involvement. Along with Alice Stopford Green she also took part in the unsuccessful campaign for the reprieve of Roger Casement.
Eva was also an accomplished poet. Her first published volume was highly praised by Yeats. After World War I, Eva and Esther became members of the Committee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment and worked for prison reform.
As she grew older, Eva was forced to give up active work but continued writing poetry. Esther took care of her throughout her long illness and they were together at the end. Eva died in 1926 at her home in Hampstead, London.
After Eva's death, Esther collected many of her poems for publication and wrote a biographical introduction to them. Esther was extremely reticent, and little is known of her final years. Constance wrote of her: "The more one knows her, the more one loves her, and I feel so glad Eva and she were together, and so thankful that her love was with Eva to the end."
After twelve years Esther rejoined her companion in 1938. They were buried together under the same headstone in the Churchyard of St. John's Church of Hampstead, London, England.
Esther Roper (4 August 1868 – 28 April 1938) was an English suffragist who was one of the first women to graduate and gain her BA at Owens College in Manchester. She was the daughter of a Manchester factory worker who later became a missionary in Africa.
She was a working woman and a skilled organiser, administrator and fund-raiser — at her best behind the scenes rather than in front. She worked for the women's department of Manchester University and, as the Secretary of the North of England Suffrage Society, she was a committee member of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, led by the veteran Millicent Fawcett, as well as Secretary for the Manchester National Society for Women's Suffrage.
In 1896 she met Irish poet Eva Gore-Booth when they both were staying at Scottish writer George Macdonald's guest house in Bordighera, Italy. They became lifelong lovers.
Together with Eva, she supported the cause of women in various fields such as flower sellers, circus performers, barmaids and coal mine pit girls.
They were prominent pacifists during the First World War, working in the International Committee of Women for Permanent Peace. Among other things they helped support the wives and children of imprisoned conscientious objectors. After the war they became members of the Committee for the Abolition of Capital Punishment and worked for prison reform.
Esther Roper (Seated), Edith Palliser (Left), Mrs Blaxter (Right)
She was asthmatic and near-sighted, and little is known of her final years. Constance Markievicz, Eva Gore-Booth's sister, wrote of her: "The more one knows her, the more one loves her, and I feel so glad Eva and she were together, and so thankful that her love was with Eva to the end."
Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time by Elisa Rolle
Paperback: 760 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform; 1 edition (July 1, 2014)
Amazon: Days of Love: Celebrating LGBT History One Story at a Time
Days of Love chronicles more than 700 LGBT couples throughout history, spanning 2000 years from Alexander the Great to the most recent winner of a Lambda Literary Award. Many of the contemporary couples share their stories on how they met and fell in love, as well as photos from when they married or of their families. Included are professional portraits by Robert Giard and Stathis Orphanos, paintings by John Singer Sargent and Giovanni Boldini, and photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnson, Arnold Genthe, and Carl Van Vechten among others. “It's wonderful. Laying it out chronologically is inspired, offering a solid GLBT history. I kept learning things. I love the decision to include couples broken by death. It makes clear how important love is, as well as showing what people have been through. The layout and photos look terrific.” Christopher Bram “I couldn’t resist clicking through every page. I never realized the scope of the book would cover centuries! I know that it will be hugely validating to young, newly-emerging LGBT kids and be reassured that they really can have a secure, respected place in the world as their futures unfold.” Howard Cruse “This international history-and-photo book, featuring 100s of detailed bios of some of the most forward-moving gay persons in history, is sure to be one of those bestsellers that gay folk will enjoy for years to come as reference and research that is filled with facts and fun.” Jack Fritscher
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