Daisy L. Hobman

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Daisy Lucie Hobman
Daisy Lucie Adler

17 November 1891
London, England
Died24 December 1961
Hove, England
EducationSt Hilda's College, Oxford
  • Author
  • biographer
  • essayist
  • social worker
OrganizationBritish Humanist Association
Notable workThe welfare state (1953); Olive Schreiner: her friends and times (1955); Go spin, you jade!: studies in the emancipation of woman (1957)
SpouseJoseph Burton Hobman
ChildrenDavid Hobman

Daisy L. Hobman (née Adler;[1] 17 November 1891[2] – 24 December 1961)[3] was a feminist writer, biographer, social worker,[4] and founding member of Brighton and Hove Humanist Group.[5] She was the first person to gain an Oxford diploma in social studies.[4]


Daisy Lucie Hobman was born in London, but spent much of her life in Sussex.[1] She attended St Hilda's College, Oxford,[6] gaining a Diploma in Economics and Political Science.[1] In 1926, she married journalist and Liberal politician Joseph Burton Hobman in a civil ceremony.[1]

A correspondent later described the atmosphere of the household for The Times:

For 30 years, both during the life of her husband... and after his death, the Hobman fireside was a place where an extraordinary variety of people warmed more than their hands and feet. Conversation sparkled, and whoever came round the door was drawn into the stream of talk, whether a literary lion, a diffident refugee, or the maid bringing coffee from the kitchen.[7]

The couple's son, David Burton Hobman (1927–2003), raised in this 'freethinking intellectual family',[4] was an expert on the social and economic impacts of ageing, and a campaigner for the welfare of the elderly.[1] Between 1970 and 1987 he was Director of the charity Age Concern, and was appointed CBE in 1973.[1] Daisy Hobman wrote biographies of Rahel Varnhagen, Olive Schreiner, and John Thurloe, as well as other works of fiction and non-fiction.[1] Stevie Smith reviewed Go Spin, You Jade! for The Observer, describing it as 'a disturbing study, though in most temperate terms, of the lot of women through the ages and how at last they became emancipated.'[8] Hobman's biography of Thurloe - Oliver Cromwell's Secretary of State - was described by The Times as having:

real merit and charm, due mainly to the agreeable manner in which she rambles along commenting on anything in Thurloe's papers which engages her attention. Nothing was too large or too small to enter Thurloe's net, and Mrs. Hobman's capacity for selecting the best from his catch is unfailing.[9]

Hobman also assisted Vera Brittain in the preparation of her book The Women at Oxford; a fragment of a history,[6] and translated German author Friedrich Griese's story Winter in 1929.[10] This was described as a 'vivid word picture... of a German village, its folk, and the disasters, domestic and social, that befell the residents'.[11]

Hobman, alongside H. J. Blackham and Denis Cobell, was an active part of the 'secular-humanist scene' during the 1950s,[12] and a founding member of the Brighton and Hove Humanist Group.[5] On her death, on 24 December 1961, she was lauded for her 'criticism and generosity,' which she was said to have 'wielded in a lifelong campaign for honesty and courage.'[7]


  • One who loved: the story of Rahel Levin (1932)
  • The secret barrier (1938)
  • The welfare state (1953)
  • Olive Schreiner: her friends and times (1955)
  • Go spin, you jade!: studies in the emancipation of woman (1957)
  • Cromwell's master spy: a study of John Thurloe (1961)


  1. ^ a b c d e f g The Palgrave dictionary of Anglo-Jewish history. Rubinstein, W. D., Jolles, Michael., Rubinstein, Hilary L. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 2011. ISBN 978-1-4039-3910-4. OCLC 644655045.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: others (link)
  2. ^ "1939 Register". Find My Past. Archived from the original on 12 January 2021. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  3. ^ "Find a Will". GovUK Probate Search. 1962. Archived from the original on 31 January 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "Hobman, David Burton (1927–2003), social reformer and charity director". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/93130. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. Retrieved 10 January 2021. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ a b British Humanist Association, Box: Annual Reports of the Ethical Union, File: 66th Annual Report, (1961). London: Bishopsgate Institute.
  6. ^ a b Brittain, Vera (1960). The women at Oxford; a fragment of history. New York: Macmillan. p. 145.
  7. ^ a b K. G. (4 January 1962). "Mrs. D. L. Hobman". The Times. p. 10. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  8. ^ Smith, Stevie (1981). Me again: uncollected writings of Stevie Smith. London: Virago. pp. 177–178. ISBN 9780860682172.
  9. ^ "Roundhead Spider". The Times. 23 March 1961. p. 17. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 10 January 2021.
  10. ^ GRIESE, Friedrich August Heinrich; ADLER, afterwards HOBMAN, Daisy Lucie (1929). Winter ... Translated ... with a preface by D.L. Adler Hobman. London: Longmans & Co. OCLC 776799109.
  11. ^ "A German Story". Sheffield Independent. 29 April 1929.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  12. ^ "HAROLD JOHN BLACKHAM MEMORIAL MEETING, 19 APRIL 2009" (PDF). Ethical Record. May 2009.{{cite news}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)

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