Story: Sexualities

Seduction and illegitimacy, 1908

Seduction and illegitimacy, 1908

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, young women who became pregnant outside marriage were often blamed for things over which they had little control. NZ Truth reported in May 1908 on Ellen Webley's claim for maintenance for her baby from Francis Haughey, who worked with her in a pickle factory in Victoria Street, Christchurch. Haughey had already fathered her first child, who died after a premature birth. Webley is presented both as an 'undersized' girl who has been 'seduced', and a single woman who has 'sinned' and should have been 'more careful' – despite the description of Haughey as a 'masterful person' who 'overcame her frantic objections'.

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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: NZ Truth, 23 May 1908, p. 6

Permission of the National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Louisa Allen, 'Sexualities - Sexualities – then and now', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/document/30856/seduction-and-illegitimacy-1908 (accessed 26 June 2019)

Story by Louisa Allen, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 17 Jul 2018