English writer Mary Wollstonecraft was born in London, England, on April 27, 1759, and died on September 10, 1797; she traveled through Europe during her life, eventually returning to the city of her birth, and earned a reputation as a passionate advocate for the advancement of women's rights. Mary Wollstonecraft, a self proclaimed feminist, eventually married and assumed the name of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin. She outlived an attempt at suicide in 1795 following a painful breakup with her lover, American Captain Gilbert Imlay, and gave birth to a daughter a year earlier, in 1794.
Mary Wollstonecraft was born to poor parents who made a living from farming. Despite their intentions to have their daughter involved in the family farm, Wollstonecraft had other plans. She showed promise in academic disciplines, particularly reading and writing. Independent and confident, she sought and found employment in London during a time when society encouraged women to stay at home. Wollstonecraft embarked on a professional career first as a teacher, since she placed great value on education. Wollstonecraft then worked as a governess. Her first two careers inspired her first work, titled "Thoughts on the Education of Daughters," published in 1787, which was a conduct book for women focusing on the important responsibilities and duties they held within society. Other publications followed this, including "A Vindication of the Rights of Woman", which advocated for the equal education of men and women. This publication was hailed as a great feminist work and inspiration for future feminists, including Margaret Fuller and Elizabeth Stanton.