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Leslie STEPHEN (1832 - 1904)
Harriet Minny THACKERAY Julia Prinsep STEPHEN George Herbert DUCKWORTH Stella DUCKWORTH Gerald de l Laura STEPHEN Vanessa BELL Thoby Prinsep STEPHEN Virginia WOOLF Adrian Leslie STEPHEN James STEPHEN James STEPHEN James STEPHEN Sibella MILNER Anna STENT Jane Catherine VENN
Six Generation Ancestors Table
b. 1832
m. (1) 1867 Harriet Minny THACKERAY (1839 - 1875)
m. (2) 1879 Julia Prinsep STEPHEN (1846 - 1895)
d. 1904 aged 72
Cause of Death:
bowel cancer
James STEPHEN (1789 - 1859)
Jane Catherine VENN (1793 - 1875)
Siblings (3):
Herbert Venn STEPHEN (1822 - 1846)
James Fitzjames STEPHEN (1829 - 1894)
Caroline Emelia STEPHEN (1834 - 1909)
Children (5):
Laura STEPHEN (1870 - 1945)
Vanessa BELL (1879 - 1961)
Thoby Prinsep STEPHEN (1880 - 1906)
Virginia WOOLF (1882 - 1941)
Adrian Leslie STEPHEN (1883 - 1948)
Step Children (3):
George Herbert DUCKWORTH (1868 - 1934)
Stella DUCKWORTH (1869 - 1897)
Gerald de l'Etang DUCKWORTH (1870 - 1937)
Grandchildren (5):
Julian BELL (1908 - 1937), Quentin BELL (1910 - 1996)
Events in Leslie STEPHEN (1832 - 1904)'s life
Date Age Event Place Notes Src
1832 Leslie STEPHEN was born
1859 27 Death of father James STEPHEN (aged 70) Note 1
1867 35 Married Harriet Minny THACKERAY (aged 28)
1870 38 Birth of daughter Laura STEPHEN
1875 43 Death of mother Jane Catherine VENN (aged 82)
1875 43 Death of wife Harriet Minny THACKERAY (aged 36) Note 2
1879 47 Married Julia Prinsep STEPHEN (aged 33)
30 May 1879 47 Birth of daughter Vanessa BELL Hyde Park Gate
1880 48 Birth of son Thoby Prinsep STEPHEN
25 Jan 1882 50 Birth of daughter Virginia WOOLF 22 Hyde Park Gate, London, England
1883 51 Birth of son Adrian Leslie STEPHEN
1895 63 Death of wife Julia Prinsep STEPHEN (aged 49) Note 3
19 Jul 1897 65 Death of step daughter Stella DUCKWORTH (aged 28)
1904 72 Leslie STEPHEN died
Note 1: "deteriorated rapidly" after James Kenneth's death, "dying two years later" (Hussey 266)
Note 2: "died awful, at thirty-seven, in 'convulsions' from the premature birth of her second child" (Lee 74)
Note 3: death was premature, devastated Leslie, had influenza less than 2 mo before death
Personal Notes:
-Eton and Trinity Hall, Cambridge (Hussey 270)

-"ordained a deacon in in 1855 and a full-fledged parson in 1859" (Hussey 270)
-traveled to the United States during the Civil War, in 1863 (Hussey 270)
-his first wife, Minny Thackeray, died on his birthday in 1875 (Hussey 270)
-his second wife, Julia Prinsep Stephen, died in 1895 (Hussey 267)
-knighted in 1902 (Hussey 270)

-'thin-skinned' childhood, violent temper, passionate reactions to criticism, socially sensitive (Lee 69)
-had "nervous exhaustion which made the doctors talk about the dangers of 'effeminacy'..." (Lee 69)
-bullied at Eton (Lee 69)
-"At school he needed all the protection that [his brother] Fitzjames could give him" (Bell 7)
-Enjoyed birds, flowers and drawings, poetry "fond of and over-excited by poetry, too sensitive to be able to endure an unhappy ending to a story" (Bell 7)
-"frightened, delicate" (Bell 7)
-"altogether gentler, more diffident, less brilliant [than Fitzjames]...and never emerged from the main rank of undergraduates" (Bell 7)
-became "unsentimental and manly" to compete with his brother Fitzjames (Bell 8)

-Extreme anxiety over losing money even though "he...was never at risk of poverty" (Lee 99)
**-his views were "distorted by a morality which, though not as fierce as that of Fitzjames, was as narrow and as intolerant...but there is more of intimacy, of delicacy, of humour and even of fantasy in the work of Leslie...he was more of an artist [than Fitzjames]" (Bell 10)
-among other impressions of him, Virginia remembers "the tyrannical Old Man whose gloom and rages and deafness overshadowed her life between the ages of thirteen and twenty-two" (Lee 69)
-"read himself as a failure" (Lee 72)

-dependence on Stella, then Vanessa after Julia’s death (Hussey 271)
-after Minny's death, "Leslie was shattered, heartbroken and desolated" (Bell 12)
-"When he was not teaching, Leslie could be an enchanting father" (Bell 26)
-radical politics... "sympathy for the Union led to a visit to the United States, to an interview with Lincoln, and more importantly to a life-long friendship with James Russell Lowell, Charles Eliot Norton and Oliver Wendell Holmes" (Bell 9)
-Tried to obstruct Stella and Jack's marriage; described feelings of jealousy towards Jack (Lee 135).
-was an avid walker and alpinist; formed the "Sunday Tramps," which would eventually turn into about sixty men taking twenty-mile "strolls" together (Hussey 270)
-was a member of the Alpine Club and had an impressive resume of alpine acsents (Hussey 270)

-Writer/editor of books, essays, Dictionary of National Biography (Bell 10)
-his role as editor of the Dictionary of National Biography "would eventually so weaken him that he would be forced to resign in 1890" (Hussey 270)
-"apt to overwork" (Hussey 271)
-the Dictionary of National Biography was "a tomb for Leslie's health" (Lee 99)
-although mostly remembered for his work on DNB, he "would rather have been remembered as a philosopher" (Bell 10)
-"he was a workaholic who pushed himself beyond his limits" (Lee 71)
-he "was a prolific writer and an important critic" (Hussey 270)


-Chronic self doubt, low self-esteem (Lee 73)
-Poor sleep during National Biography work (Lee 99)

-When writing Dictionary of National Biography: sleep disturbance (reliant on Julia for comfort), recurring headaches, "fits of horrors," exhausted (Lee 99)
-deaf in later years (Lee 135)
-Cancer (Hussey 271)

-none known

-no, but had a breakdown during the writing of Dictionary of National Biography (Lee 93)
-"in 1888, when Virginia was six, his mental and physical state was distressing" (Lee 99)

-After his father's death, was able to "make his disbeliefs public" (Bell 9), got him away from the "celibacy and religion of Cambridge" (Bell 9)
-"Stephens...had but recently escaped from the lower middle class" (Bell 20)
-"Leslie's favourite exercise was walking; he would sometimes go for what he called 'a potter,' covering thirty miles or so" (Bell 33)
-He was "reckoned to be among the first rank of English alpinists. He had many first ascents to his credit, accomplished without excessive difficulty, indeed in an almost casual manner" (ODNB http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/36271)
Source References:
1. Type: Book, Title: Virginia Woolf: A Biography, Auth: Quentin Bell, Publ: Mariner Books, Date: 1974
- Reference = 7, 9, 10, 12, 20, 26, 33 (Name, Notes)
2. Type: Book, Title: Virginia Woolf, Auth: Hermione Lee, Publ: Vintage Books, Date: 1996
- Reference = 69, 71, 72, 93, 99, 135 (Name, Notes)
4. Type: Web Page, Abbr: Oxford DNB, Title: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Publ: Oxford University Press, Date: most recent copyright 2011, Locn: online database
- Reference = (Name, Notes)
7. Type: Book, Abbr: Virginia Woolf A to Z, Title: Virginia Woolf A to Z: A Comprehensive Reference for Students, Teachers, and Common Readers to Her Life, Work, and Critical Reception, Auth: Mark Hussey, Publ: Facts on File, Inc., Date: 1995
- Reference = 267, 270, 271 (Name, Notes)