Marie Bethell Beauclerc


Marie's London birth certificate (1845) and those of her twin siblings (1843) give the surname Bethell but  the 1851 census has the three children at school in Bath with the surname Beauclerc.

The addition of Bethell appeared for the first time in the title of Marie's biography in 1891 in “The Phonetic Journal.” The reason for her name change to Beauclerc before she was six is unknown, however from the time she was a young child, Marie reflected its meaning, namely good scholar.

Her limited childhood education and the rigid gender prejudices she later conquered, demonstrate courage as well as academic ability. For example, in his lecture on “National Education,” George Dawson says, “Ladies' spelling is always pretty feeble. It has never been a strong point with women. Even out of 100 educated women 99 will spell independent with 'a' dant.”

He trusted Marie however to precisely report his lectures, prayers and sermons and George St. Clair praised her accurate transcribing in the prefaces of many volumes of his work. Marie is also credited with editing and recording the sermons of Robert Collyer during his visit to Birmingham from U.S and also with reporting the work of Christopher J. Street.

The recognition Marie received from other eminent male figures such as A.Hagarty, R.F. Martineau and Dr. Percival Headmaster of Rugby, indicate the extent of her reputation. She delivered a paper in London at The International Shorthand Congress and Phonographic Jubilee in 1887, another noteworthy achievement for a woman of this time and  her teaching inspired thousands of students who in this era were predominately male.

Beauclerc Family