Sybil Neville-Rolfe (1885-1955): Background information when reading The Foundling

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Read-Alikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Foundling

A Novel

by Ann Leary

The Foundling by Ann Leary X
The Foundling by Ann Leary
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • First Published:
    May 2022, 336 pages

    Apr 2023, 336 pages


  • Rate this book

Book Reviewed by:
Grace Graham-Taylor
Buy This Book

About this Book

Sybil Neville-Rolfe (1885-1955)

This article relates to The Foundling

Sepia-toned portrait photo of Sybil Neville-Rolfe, turned at an angle and gazing away from the camera Dr. Agnes Vogel, The Foundling's complicated eugenicist arch-villain, has many real analogues in history. As the eugenics movement bloomed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women played an instrumental role in how its ideas took shape. In Britain, Sybil Neville-Rolfe (née Sybil Burney) was the founder of the Eugenics Education Society, a project that sought to harness theories of biological evolution for its own vision of societal advancement. Neville-Rolfe's legacy is a dubious one; she aimed to eradicate poverty and took stances to protect and support women, but her racist, classist and homophobic beliefs led her to advocate for policies that were cruel and discriminatory. Many of her views are directly echoed by Dr. Vogel in Leary's novel.

Neville-Rolfe was born in Greenwich, England on the 22nd of June in 1885, to a family of good standing. At 16, she became interested in prostitution as a social problem, inspired by the writings of novelist and journalist ...

Subscribers Only

This article is only available to members at this time, but you can read these articles for free.

About Membership

Member Login

Library Patron Login

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: After the Miracle
    After the Miracle
    by Max Wallace
    Many people have heard one particular story about Helen Keller—how the saintly teacher, Annie ...
  • Book Jacket: The Lost Wife
    The Lost Wife
    by Susanna Moore
    The Lost Wife is a hard-hitting novella based in part on a white settler named Sarah Wakefield's ...
  • Book Jacket
    Firekeeper's Daughter
    by Angeline Boulley
    Voted 2021 Best Young Adult Award Winner by BookBrowse Subscribers

    Angeline Boulley's young adult ...
  • Book Jacket: Hello Beautiful
    Hello Beautiful
    by Ann Napolitano
    Ann Napolitano's much-anticipated Hello Beautiful pulls the reader into a warm, loving familial ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The First Conspiracy
by Brad Meltzer & Josh Mensch
A remarkable and previously untold piece of American history—the secret plot to kill George Washington

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Pieces of Blue
    by Holly Goldberg Sloan

    A hilarious and heartfelt novel for fans of Maria Semple and Emma Straub.

Win This Book
Win Girlfriend on Mars

30 Copies to Give Away!

A funny and poignant debut novel that skewers billionaire-funded space travel in a love story of interplanetary proportions.



Solve this clue:

S I F A R Day

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.