Christine de Pizan

Christine de Pizan
The Writer Christine de Pizan at Her Desk

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes: Victims of Violence

Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes (murdered 30 September 1888)

Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes were murdered in Whitechapel, London, on 30 September 1888. 

Elizabeth Stride,
photo from 1872
Elizabeth Gustafsdotter was born in 1843 in Torslanda, Sweden, the daughter of Gustaf Ericsson and Beata Carlsdotter. She arrived in London in 1865 and married John Stride in 1869. He died of tuberculosis in 1884. 

Catherine Eddowes was born in the West Midlands city of Wolverhampton in 1842, the daughter of George Eddowes and Catherine Evans Eddowes. She arrived in London with Thomas Conway, and after separating from him in 1880, she began living with a new partner, John Kelly.

Stride's body was found at 1:00 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, 30 September 1888, Eddowes's less than an hour later, at 1:45 a.m.

Many of the women I've written about this year have been assaulted, tortured, and killed--but they were regarded as having suffered "for their faith," and they are now known as saints.

Catherine Eddowes,
photo from 1883
Far more women--nameless, numberless--have been victimized and forgotten. Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes would probably be included among those countless nameless, faceless, and unremembered murdered women, except for the fact that they are the third and fourth victims of "Jack the Ripper."

Update, 31 May 2020: The pandemic lockdown has given me lots of time to read--and so I've finally picked up Hallie Rubenhold's terrific new book, The Five: The Untold Lives of the Women Killed by Jack the Ripper. 

Update, 4 October 2021: Hallie Rubenhold has just begun posting episodes for a new podcast series, Bad Women: Ripper Retold, which I cannot recommend enough! In the first episode, "The Ripper Myth," she reveals the outrage of the "ripperologists" and their community over her book, The Five, and the abuse and scorn heaped upon her for daring to focus her narrative on, gasp, the lives of the victims!!!!! It's an excellent series, narrated by an engaging and knowledgeable historian. (I am listening via Overcast, but it seems to be available on all podcasting services.)

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