Dora Marsden, unser aller Mutter

1845-1945, Book, Dora Marsden, Freewoman, Max Stirner, Trevor Blake / Wednesday, February 16th, 2022

Dora Marsden (1882 – 1960) broke with what she called the “skirt movement.” She saw that the leaders of the Womens’ Suffrage and Political Union may have called their journal Votes for Women but their actions were in the service of the leaders of the Womens’ Suffrage and Political Union. Dora wanted a new movement that was openly self-interested, openly promoting only the freedoms and abilities of the individual. She had read Stirner, and knowingly declined to call her movement egoist. She called her movement the freewomen, and the title of her 1911 journal was The Freewoman. The following may be the inspiration for that name.

In Der Einzige und sein Eigentum (1845), Max Stirner quotes Galatians 4 verse 26 in saying: “Das Jerusalem, das droben ist, das ist die Freie, die ist unser aller Mutter.” Stephen T. Byington translates the passage in his 1907 translation of Stirner, The Ego and His Own, as “The Jerusalem that is above is the freewoman; she is the mother of us all.”

Dora references the passage again in the dedication to her book The Definition of the Godhead (1928): To / THE GREAT NAME, / HUSHED AMONG US FOR SO LONG / of / HER, / HEAVEN, / THE MIGHTY MOTHER / of / ALL.