Articles in the category People

Gustav Spiller

(1864 – 1940) Gustav Spiller was a member of the Ethical Societies that preceded the modern Humanist movement. He wrote a number of secular hymns and books including a history of these Societies, and on psychology. Spiller was a Jew born in Budapest, Hungary but later naturalised as English. By the late 1880’s Spiller worked for the Labour […]


(99-55 BCE) Titus Lucretius Carus was a Roman poet contemporary of Julius Caesar. Little is known of him apart from his name and his poem De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) which nevertheless reveals much about his beliefs and his character. The main purpose of the work was to free Gaius Memmius (to […]


Johanna Mary [Hanna] Sheehy-Skeffington, (1877-1946) Francis Sheehy-Skeffington (1878–1916) Owen Lancelot Sheehy-Skeffington (1909-1970) The Sheehy-Skeffingtons – the feminist and Irish nationalist Hanna Sheehy-Skeffington, her husband, the pacifist, suffragist and writer, Francis, and their son, Owen, a founder member of the Humanist Association or Ireland – were notable Irish atheists. Hanna and Francis Born into the Roman […]

William Morris

(24 March 1834 – 3 October 1896) William Morris was an English textile designer, artist, writer, and socialist. Morris was educated at Exeter College, Oxford, where he developed an interest in art and the Middle Ages and became friends with artists such as Burne-Jones. He read a great deal of theology and ecclesiastical history. He was […]


(341 – 270 BCE) Epicurus was an ancient Greek philosopher. He is often cited as a precursor of modern Humanism, but very little of his teachings have survived except in the recollections of his later followers, in particular in De Rerum Natura by the Roman poet Lucretius. This epitaph, based on his philosophy, can still […]

Algernon Charles Swinburne

(1837–1909) Algernon Charles Swinburne was a controversial English poet. Sorry, this article hasn’t been completed yet. Would you like to write it for us? Humanist Heritage relies on contributions from users so if you’re interested in helping us please drop us a line. Also see… Portraits of Swinburne at the National Portrait Gallery

Bernard Williams

(21 September 1929–10 June 2003) Sir Bernard Arthur Owen Williams was an English moral philosopher, described by The Times as the “most brilliant and most important British moral philosopher of his time”. Sorry, this article hasn’t been completed yet. Would you like to write it for us? Humanist Heritage relies on contributions from users so […]

Olaf Stapledon

(10 May, 1886 – 6 September, 1950) William Olaf Stapledon was a British philosopher and author of several influential works of science fiction. Stapledon was born in Seacombe, Wallasey and educated at Abbotsholme School and Balliol College, Oxford, where he acquired a BA in Modern History in 1909 and a MA in 1913. During World War […]

Stanton Coit

(11 August 1857 – 15 February 1944) Stanton George Coit co-founded the Union of Ethical Societies, which was the forerunner of the present British Humanist Association. Coit was born in Columbus, Ohio. He studied at Amherst College, Massachusetts, 1879, and became an aide of Felix Adler who had founded the Society for Ethical Culture in […]

G.E. Moore

(4 November 1873 – 24 October 1958) George E Moore was a distinguished and influential English philosopher. A friend of Bertrand Russell, influenced a whole generation of Cambridge graduates, including E.M. Forster and members of the Bloomsbury group. In Principia Ethica, he explored the idea that goodness is a quality one can experience intuitively, and a […]