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Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts

The wealthy Victorian philanthropist Baroness Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts was born 24 April 1814 in Piccadilly, London and died 30 December 1906. She was the daughter of Sir Francis Burdett, Baronet, an MP, and Sophia Coutts, who was the daughter of Thomas Coutts, the wealthy banker who founded Coutts bank. In 1837 Angela became the wealthiest woman in England when she inherited her grandfather's fortune of nearly two million pounds sterling via his wife Harriot Mellon, joining the names of her father and grandfather to became known as Burdett-Coutts, for which she required a Royal License, becoming widely known as "the richest heiress in England". She also inherited the country house at The Holly Lodge in Highgate, where she was famous for throwing large parties.

Burdett-Coutts spent the majority of her inherited wealth on scholarships, endowments, and a wide range of philanthropic causes. One of her earliest was to establish a home for young women who had "turned to a life of immorality," helping them to escape from prostitution. She was actively interested in improving the condition of the black races, as in Africa, and the education and relief of the poor or suffering in any part of the world. Though she made no special distinction of creed in her charities, Burdett-Coutts was a notable benefactor of the Church of England, building and endowing churches and church schools, endowing the bishoprics of Cape Town and of Adelaide (1847), and founding the bishopric of British Columbia (1857). She also established the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) in 1883, the Westminster Technical Institute in 1893, and was closely involved with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). In recognition of her philanthropic work, in 1871 Queen Victoria conferred a peerage on her under the title Baroness Burdett-Coutts of Highgate and Brookfield. She was the first ever woman to be created a baroness in her own right. Angela Burdett-Coutts had, by the time of her death in 1906, given more than three million pounds sterling to good causes. She was buried near the West Door in the nave of Westminster Abbey.

Among her personal indulgences, however, was a passion for mineral collecting, and she built a large and beautiful money-no-object collection. England's premier collector, Sir Arthur Russell, obtained much of her collection following her death; the label shown here is his, in his handwriting. According to the label, it was a specimen she had obtained ca. 1847 from the Penzance mineral dealer John Lavin (d. 1856), along with much of his collection. Her mineral collection was curated in the 1860's by James Tennant (1808-1881). In 1924-25 the American mineral dealer George English obtained specimens from her collection, probably from Russell. A remarkable copper crystal from her collection is now in the DuPont Museum at the University of Delaware.

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[Citation format for this entry:
WILSON, Wendell E. (2019)
Mineralogical Record
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The Mineralogical Record - Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts
The Mineralogical Record - Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts 30 x 75 mm
A label from the Arthur Russell collection, written in his hand, for a specimen he acquired with the Burdett-Coutts collection. Burdett-Coutts had obtained the specimen with the collection of Penzance mineral dealer John Lavin.
The Mineralogical Record - Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts 26 x 73 mm
A label from the Arthur Russell collection, written in his hand, for a specimen he acquired with the Burdett-Coutts collection.
The Mineralogical Record - Angela Georgina Burdett-Coutts 46 x 72 mm;
Nérée Boubée label
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