Margaret Postgate Cole
Author and political reformer Margaret Postgate Cole was born in Cambridge, England, into an intellectual family. Her father was a fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge and later a Latin professor at Liverpool. Cole studied at Girton College, Cambridge, where she read widely among authors committed to British socialism. Cole became increasingly politically engaged during World War I. She helped her brother secure conscientious objector status and generally took part in the campaign against conscription. During this time she wrote her most famous poem, “The Falling Leaves.” It was one of the first anti-war poems from a woman’s perspective.
Margaret Postgate married George Douglas Howard Cole in 1918. They went on to become one of the most powerful of Britain’s politically leftist couples, working together on many projects and co-founding both the Society for Socialist Inquiry and Propaganda in 1930 and the New Fabian Research Bureau in 1931. Cole’s own publications are numerous and wide-ranging: works of political economy such as The New Economic Revolution (1938); feminist tracts including Marriage Past and Present (1938); an account of local governance, Servant of the County (1958); and her autobiography Growing up into Revolution (1949). She also edited the diaries of Beatrice Webb. Margaret Postgate Cole was awarded the OBE in 1965 and a DBE in 1970 and was appointed an honorary fellow at the London School of Economics in 1977. She died in Goring-on-Thames, Oxfordshire.