Annie Horniman (1860–1937) was a wealthy tea heiress, dramatist, and member of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
Annie Horniman was born on October 3, 1860, in Forest Hill, England, to a Congregationalist family and was raised in Surrey. Her father served in Parliament. Her grandfather, a Quaker, was a tea merchant who invented the tea bag and made a fortune.
Horniman entered art school in 1882, and met Moina Mathers (then Mina Bergson); they became close friends. Mina married Samuel Liddell MacGregor Mathers, and the two introduced Horniman to the Golden Dawn. Horniman was initiated in 1890 and took the magical Motto Fortiter et Recte, “Bravely and justly.” Advancing quickly, in 1891 she became the first person to be initiated into the Second Order. In 1893 she became sub-Praemonstratrix under Florence Farr.
Horniman received her inheritance in 1893, and she became benefactor to Golden Dawners. She helped Farr and William Butler Yeats produce plays, and she supported the perpetually penniless Matherses. She secured for Mathers a job as curator of the Horniman Museum, and she financed their move to Paris in 1892. In 1896 she took a stand against member Dr. Edward Berridge, who championed the sexual theories of an American commune leader, Thomas Lake Harris. Horniman felt the theories were immoral. Mathers disgareed, and Horniman, angered, resigned as sub-Praemonstratrix. She also became dissatisfied with the amount of time Mathers was spending on Golden Dawn affairs; she expected more of him in exchange for her patronage. She cut off her support and in 1903 made a final break with Mathers. In return he had her expelled from the order.
Horniman returned to the theater world. In 1921 she joined the Quest Society, formed by Theosophist George R. S. Mead. She died on August 6, 1937.
- Greer, Mary K. Women of the Golden Dawn: Rebels and Priestesses. Rochester, Vt.: Inner Traditions, 1995.