Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford

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Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford (1903)

Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford (born June 27, 1868 in Freetown , † January 16, 1960 ibid), née Smith , was a Sierra Leonean feminist , lawyer and writer .

Adelaide belonged to a family from Freetown's Creole elite and came to England with them as a child. One of her teachers and friends was Mathilde Bazlen from Öhringen . When she returned home in 1885, she traveled with her to learn German. Two nieces already visited the Katharinenstift in Stuttgart. Here she stayed and was warmly welcomed in the best company. T. taught in English.

At the conservatory she studied piano for a while before she had to break off her stay because of lack of money. In 1903 she married the lawyer, politician and author Joseph E. Casely Hayford in London and from 1914 became Sierra Leone's leading women's rights activist. From 1923 to 1940 Adelaide headed a Girls' Vocational School in Freetown, where she aimed for a special education for girls: they should be able to lead a self-determined, independent and yet righteous female life.

Since 1914 Adelaide lived separately from her husband, who made a career on the Gold Coast. In 1904 she gave birth to the daughter Gladys Casely-Hayford , who became a well-known West African writer.

Adelaide died in 1960 and left behind a number of publications (e.g. educational policy articles, short stories and her memoirs). Part of her personal correspondence, which also shows the difficult relationship with her daughter, was published by Anna Melissa Graves.

Smith Casely Hayford was included in the Daughters of Africa anthology published in 1992 by Margaret Busby in London and New York. In 2019 an asteroid was named after her: (6848) Casely-Hayford .


  • Monika Firla: Exotic - courtly - bourgeois. Africans in Württemberg from the 15th to the 19th century (exhibition catalog at the Main State Archive Stuttgart; March 14– June 29, 2001).
  • Adelaide M. Cromwell: An African Victorian Feminist: The Life and Times of Adelaide Smith Casely Hayford, 1868–1960 ; Washington DC: Howard University Press 1992.

Individual evidence

  1. Rahel Kühne-Thies: African Identity? Mother and Daughter between the Currents in Colonial West Africa. (PDF) In: Samples. Vienna Journal for Critical African Studies No 29/2015, Vol. 15, pp. 49–67. University of Vienna, accessed on October 11, 2017 (English).
  2. Rahel Kühne-Thies: African Identity? Mother and Daughter between the Currents in Colonial West Africa . Spot checks. Viennese magazine for critical African studies. No. 29/2015, Vol. 15, 49-67. online . Retrieved September 2, 2017
  3. Biography at . Retrieved September 2, 2017
  4. ^ Adelaide Casely-Hayford: A Girls' School in West Africa . Ed .: Southern Workman. tape 55 , no. 1 , October 1926, p. 449-456 .
  5. Yema Lucilda Hunter (Ed.): Mother and Daughter. Memoirs and Poems by Adelaide and Gladys Casely-Hayford. Sierra Leone University Press, Freetown 1983.
  6. ^ Anna Melissa Graves: Benvenuto Cellini had no Prejudice Against Bronze. Letters from West Africans. Kessinger Publishing, Whitefish 1943.