Virginia (Stephen) Woolf

Adeline Virginia (Stephen) Woolf (1882 - 1941)

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Adeline Virginia (Virginia) Woolf formerly Stephen
Born in Kensington, London, Englandmap
Ancestors ancestors
Wife of — married in Englandmap
Died in River Ouse, Lewes, Sussex, Englandmap
Profile last modified | Created 13 Nov 2014 | Last significant change: 8 Nov 2018
19:45: Nicolas LaPointe edited the Biography for Virginia (Stephen) Woolf. [Thank Nicolas for this | 1 thank-you received]
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Categories: This Day In History January 25 | This Day In History March 28 | English Authors | LGBT | Kensington, London | English Notables.

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Virginia (Stephen) Woolf is Notable.

Virginia Woolf was an English author and pioneer of literary modernism in the twentieth century.[1][2][3][4]

Early Years

Julia and Virginia

Adeline Virginia Stephen was born at 22 Hyde Park Gate in Kensington, London on 25 Jan 1882.[5][1][6][7][2][4][8] Her parents were Sir Leslie Stephen and Julia Prinsep Jackson.[1][6][7][2][3][4][9] Leslie Stephen was a notable historian, author, critic and mountaineer as well as a founding editor of the Dictionary of National Biography.[1][6] It would be an influence on Virginia's experimental biographies.[1] Adeline was named after Lady Henry Pattle's sister, Adeline Marie Russell, Duchess of Bedford and her middle name, Virginia, was the name of yet another Pattle sister, as well as Julia's aunt.[1] Virginia's parents had each been married previously and widowed.[1] Theirs was home to children of three marriages: Julia had three children by her first husband, Herbert Duckworth (George, Stella, and Gerald Duckworth); Leslie had one daughter with Harriet Marian (Minny) Thackeray, the daughter of William Thackeray, (Laura Makepeace Stephen, who was declared mentally disabled and lived with the family until she was institutionalized in 1891): and Leslie and Julia had four children together (Vanessa Stephen Bell, Thoby Stephen, Virginia, and Adrian Stephen).[1][6][4][5][9]

Virginia was educated by her parents and private tutors in the home.[1][7][4] She later attended Kings College, London.[1][6]

Virginia suffered several losses of loved ones during her younger years, which contributed to the beginning of her suffering of anxiety and depression.[1][6][4] Her mother and several siblings all passed away by the time she attended university.[1][6][4] She was institutionalized briefly following her father's death in 1904 as it was all too much.[1][6] Sexual abuse suffered at the hands at two of her half-brothers likely also contributed.[1][6][4] Her depression bouts included not eating or sleeping, as well as hallucination.[3]

Despite the darkness that would haunt her the rest of her life, Virginia's personal journals show a playful woman who enjoyed gossip and debauchery with her friends.[3]

Virginia married Leonard Woolf on 10 August 1912 in Pancras, London.[1][6][7][3][4][10] They shared a close bond throughout their marriage.[1][6] They had no children.[3] Virginia wanted children, but due to her mental swings, her husband, sister, and doctors decided she shouldn't.[3] Leonard would monitor her health closely throughout her life to try to help, though she often felt marginalized by his behavior.[3] Even so, she acknowledged that he was a big part of what kept her alive as long as she was.[3]

Virginia and Leonard


Virginia Woolf was a significant figure in London literary society and a central figure in the influential Bloomsbury Group of intellectuals which included Lytton Strachey, Clive Bell (Virginia's sister, Vanessa's husband), Virginia's husband Leonard Woolf, and Roger Fry, among others.[1][6][7][4] The group was well-known for their Dreadnought Hoax in 1910.[1] The group had experimental views on art, antiwar stances, and very liberal views on sexuality, which encouraged Virginia in her intimate relationships with other women, most notably Vita Sackville-West.[1][6][3][4]

Leonard and Virginia often collaborated on their art.[1][6] Together they founded Hogarth Press which published Virginia's work as well as other notable English authors including TS Eliot and Sigmund Freud.[1][6][7][3][4] Virginia believed in giving women a place to express themselves as artists and was important in the feminism of the era.[1][6][3][4] Both the Woolfs were internationalists and pacifists.[1][2][3]

Virginia had begun writing professionally in 1900, but didn't publish her first novel until 1915, with her half brother's publishing house.[1][3] She was known for her stream of consciousness style.[1] Her most famous works include the novels Mrs. Dalloway (1925), To the Lighthouse (1927) and Orlando (1928), and the book-length essay A Room of One's Own (1929).[1][6][7] Her works have been translated into 50 languages.[1]


Virginia's final letter to Leonard
After completing the manuscript of her last novel, Between the Acts, which was published posthumously, Virginia fell into a depression.[1][6] The onset of World War II, the destruction of her London home during the Blitz, and the poor reception given to her biography of her late friend Roger Fry all contributed to her condition until she was unable to write.[1][6][7] This was exaggerated when Leonard decided to join the Home Guard, against her wishes.[1]

On 28 March 1941, Virginia drowned herself by filling her overcoat pockets with stones and walking into the River Ouse near her home.[1][6][7][4] It was her final suicide attempt-she had tried several times throughout her life.[3] Her body was not found until 18 April 1941.[1][6][7]

Leonard buried her cremated remains under an elm in the garden of Monk's House, their home in Rodmell, Sussex.[1][6][11]


  1. 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 1.23 1.24 1.25 1.26 1.27 1.28 1.29 1.30 1.31 1.32 Wikipedia contributors, "Virginia Woolf," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed August 3, 2017).
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Matar, Hisham, "The Unsaid: The Silence of Virginia Woolf", The New Yorker, 10 Nov 2014. Accessed 3 Aug 2017
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 Woolf, Emma, "The Joyful, Gossipy and Absurd Private Life of Virginia Woolf", Newsweek, 13 Feb 2015. Accessed 3 Aug 2017
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 4.11 4.12 4.13 Heitman, Danny, "Virginia Woolf Was More Than Just a Women’s Writer", Humanities May/June 2015, Vol 36, No 3. Accessed 3 Aug 2017.
  5. 5.0 5.1 "England and Wales Census, 1911," database, FamilySearch ( : 1 August 2017), Adeline Virginia Stephen in household of Adrian Leslie Stephen, St Pancras, , London, England; from "1911 England and Wales census," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing PRO RG 14, The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey.
  6. 6.00 6.01 6.02 6.03 6.04 6.05 6.06 6.07 6.08 6.09 6.10 6.11 6.12 6.13 6.14 6.15 6.16 6.17 6.18 6.19 6.20 6.21 Biography Editors, "Virginia Woolf", Accessed 3 Aug 2017
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 "Virginia Woolf Believed Dead", On This Day, New York Times, 3 April 1941. Accessed 3 August 2017
  8. "England and Wales Birth Registration Index, 1837-2008," database, FamilySearch ( : 1 October 2014), Adeline Virginia Stephen, 1882; from "England & Wales Births, 1837-2006," database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing Birth Registration, Kensington, London, England, citing General Register Office, Southport, England.
  9. 9.0 9.1 "England and Wales Census, 1901," database, FamilySearch ( : 8 April 2016), Adeline V Stephen in household of Leslie Stephen, Kensington, London, Middlesex, England; from "1901 England, Scotland and Wales census," database and images, findmypast ( : n.d.); citing Kensington Town subdistrict, PRO RG 13, The National Archives, Kew, Surrey.
  10. "England and Wales Marriage Registration Index, 1837-2005," database, FamilySearch ( : 22 May 2014), Virginia Stephen and null, 1912; from “England & Wales Marriages, 1837-2005,” database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing 1912, quarter 3, vol. 1B, p. 215, Pancras, London, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.
  11. Brooks, Rebecca Beatrice, "Virginia Woolf's Suicide", The Virginia Woolf Blog, 1 Feb 2012. Accessed 3 Aug 2017.

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Images: 10
Virginia Woolf Image 1
Virginia Woolf Image 1

Leonard and Virginia Woolf
Leonard and Virginia Woolf

Virginia Woolf Image 3
Virginia Woolf Image 3

Last Letter to Leonard
Last Letter to Leonard

Julia and Virginia
Julia and Virginia

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On 25 Jan 2018 at 22:26 GMT Cathleen Bachman wrote:

Beautiful page!

On 9 Aug 2017 at 18:43 GMT Deborah Spooner wrote:

The name "Adeline" actually comes from her Great Grandmother (a long list of Adelines in our family) her GGrandmother is my 5th GGrandmother

Virginia is 30 degrees from Rosa Parks, 21 degrees from Anne Tichborne and 11 degrees from Victoria of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.

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