[Home]    [Timeline]    [Pantomimes]    [Theatres]    [Hobbies]    [Associates]   


Mabel Kate Haynes was born on 28th October 1864. Her parents were Robert and Emily Haynes. Robert was a well-known law publisher and bookseller, a partner in the firm Stevens & Haynes. Emily died of typhoid fever in 1870, just before Mabel's sixth birthday.
Mabel and her older sister Lily were well educated. In the curriculum vitae that she provided to the university in Berne, Mabel says:
"After attending private schools in my childhood I went through the (public school) curriculum on the Notting Hill High School for Girls (London), taking prizes for Latin and English Literature, and finishing at the age of seventeen in the top-form."

Up until the middle of the 19th century girls' education was not taken seriously. Upper/middle class girls were educated at home by governesses but their education was designed simply to make them good wives and mothers: fine needlework, embroidery, singing, dancing, playing piano, painting, etiquette, modesty. In the second part of the century women outnumbered men and so it was realised that not all would be able to marry and would need to earn a living. Academic schools for girls started to open, e.g. Cheltenham Ladies College and Notting Hill High School for Girls.

The school appears to have had a very good reputation:
"..a progressive school, excellent in its emphasis on admitting students from diverse economic backgrounds and in its stress on academic subjects rather than domestic" The women of the Abbey Theatre 1897-1925 by Robin Jackson Boisseau, 2004

"Notting Hill was praised by several examiners. One commented on the ease and confidence of the older girls; another thought that in all the work 'a higher and more equal level than in any other school I examined' was maintained." Secondary Education in England 1870-1902: public activity and private enterprise by John Roach, Routledge, 1991.

Mabel attended the school from Autumn 1872 to July 1881. According to the obituary in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, she alway showed a remarkable gift for languages.

The only photograph I have been able to find of Mabel was kindly provided by Leah Rhys from Notting Hill & Ealing High School. It is from the book "The fountain unsealed : a history of Notting Hill & Ealing High School" by Janet Sayers. It shows Mabel at 13/14 years of age.
Picture of Mabel Haynes Bode

Jan 1879. Mabel's father dies, leaving her and Lily orphans. According to the 1881 census they continued living with their aunt, Janet Mary Hayes (their mother's sister) who had moved in when their mother died.

15th November 1888. Mabel married William Ernest Bode, actor (professionally known as Milton Bode) at St Pancras parish church.

They seem an odd couple. Mabel, from everything I have read about her, was well-educated, refined and gentle in manner. Milton, however, was loud, brash, coarse even, and ran away from school to join the circus. Within four years of their marriage he was living as man and wife with Lillie Young and although he was named as co-respondent in her divorce, I cannot find any evidence of he and Mabel divorcing (Mabel's death certificate describes her as his wife).

The 1857 Matrimonial Causes Act gave women the right to divorce a husband (a right previously only available to men), but this could not be for adultery alone, cruelty also had to be proven.

1891. She studied the Pali language and Buddhist literature with Professor Rhys Davids at University College London.

1894. In the summer semester she studied Sanskrit with Professor E.Muller-Hess at Berne University.

1895. In the spring term she attended the Sanskrit lectures of Professor Cecil Bendall at University College London.

1896. In the spring she attended the lectures in classical and vedic Sanskrit of Mm. Les Professeurs Sylvain Levi at the College de France in Paris and Victor Henry at the Sorbonne besides those of M.S Levi and Louis Finot at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes.
C.Mary Ridding says that "it was at Paris that she found the great intellectual influence of her life in the teaching of M.Sylvain Levi, and in the unity of spirit, under his inspiration, of a band of scholars joined in loyalty of work, love of truth, and disinterested comradeship. She always spoke of that time as the happiest of her life. French became, as one of her French friends said, 'her other language' ".

One of the "band of scholars" was Marcel Mauss, the French sociologist. In his biography of Mauss, Marcel Fournier describes her:
"Mabel Bode, an Englishwoman...held a doctorate in philosophy. Already trained in Burmese and Pali, she returned to France on the advice of her professor to take history courses in the fourth section ("France in the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries", "The Monastic Rules of the Middle Ages", and others) and to learn Sanskrit with Sylvain Levi. The subject of her thesis was a history of Buddhism written by a Burmese monk. Bode, a 'lovely, kind, frail but hard-working' woman, had great admiration for her teacher, according to Mauss, she 'totally loved' Levi. She was proud to take his teachings to the University of London, where she would teach Pali. Bode corresponded regularly with Mauss beginning in the summer of 1896, and they often saw each other in Paris. When Mauss visited England, he would not neglect ' the rite of lunching' with his old friend, as she like to call it."

1897-1898. Mabel continued to study Sanskrit at Berne with Professor E.Muller-Hess, English with the same professor and history with Professor Woker.

1898. Mabel gained her phD at the University of Berne.

1902. The Royal Asiatic Society has Mabel's address as Pension Guillier, 21 Rue Valette, Paris.

1904-1906. She attended university in Pisa, studying Sanskrit with Prof. Carlo Formichi who spoke of her as "one of the cleverest and best women I ever met".

1907-1908. Resided in Paris.

1909. Became Assistant Lecturer at University College London.

July 1911. Mabel was awarded a Civil List Pension of 50 "in consideration of the value of her contributions to the study of Pali"

1911-1917. Lecturer at University College London - Indian School (Pali & Buddhist literature). The first lecturer in Pali at the School of Oriental Studies.

1911 One of her pupils was Henry Sigerist, who says:
"I had some excellent courses at University College, and since I was the only student attending them learned a great deal. With Mabel Bode I read the Meghaduta.."

1912. Among her private pupils was Gustav Holst, the composer, whom she taught Sanskrit. He was to become a personal friend and her influence is shown by his setting to music of Vedic subjects.

1914-1918. She was a valued helper to the Belgian committee and the French Red Cross.

1918. Resigned her teaching posts due to ill health. Probably for the same reason she moved at this time to reside with her sister and brother-in-law, firstly in London and then to The Chantry, Shaftesbury, Dorset.

Mabel died on 20th Janary 1922 in Shaftsbury, Dorsetshire.
She is buried in the churchyard at St James, Shaftesbury. The inscription on her gravestone reads "phD. Et prope et procul usave cor cordium dum vivam et ultra".

PUBLICATIONS This list is by no means complete:

1893. Article in the Journal of the royal Asiatic Society. "Women leaders of the Buddhist Reformation".
This paper was originally prepared for the Ninth congress of Orientalists held in London in 1892 and was the first contribution accepted from woman by this journal.

1896. Article in the Journal of the Pali Text Society vol IV: "Index to the Gandhava.msa"

1897. "Sasanavamsa (Pali Text Society. Publications. v41)" published in London for the Pali Text Society by H.Frowede

1898. "A Burmese historian of Buddhism", subtitled "dissertation presented to the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Berne for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and published in Woking by Unwin Bros.
It is dedicated "with the author's lasting gratitude to Prof. E. Muller-Hess of Berne".

1904. "The transformation of Sanskrit studies in the course of the 19th century" by Sylvain Levi, translated by Mabel Haynes Bode. Published for the Congress of Arts & Science universal exposition.

1905. "On German universities : a review of Prof. Paulsen's work on the German university system", a pamphlet published in London by P.S. King & Son

1906. "The Kharostra country & the Kharostin writing" by Sylvain Levi, translated by Mabel Haynes Bode. Published by the Royal Geographic Society.

1908. Article in the Journal of the Pali Text Society vol VI : "Early Pali Grammarians in Burma".

1909. "The Pali literature of Burma", published in London by the Royal Asiatic Society.

1911. "The legend at Ratthapal in the Pali Apadana & Buddhaghosa's commentary"

1912. "The Mahavamsa; or The great chronicle of Ceylon" published in London for the Pali Text Society by H. Frowde (translated into German by Wilhelm Geiger and from German into English by Mabel Haynes Bode)

Wrote articles in collaboration with Mr T.W. Rolleston for the Times Literary Supplement.