Elizabeth Duncan married C. E. Schwann in 1876. She was very involved in many progressive organisations, including the Women’s Liberal Federation. She had a long standing interest in trade unionism for women eg on 30 October 1894 she presided over a meeting of the Manchester and Salford Federation of Women Workers at the Social club, Mosley Street, Manchester. he said that the Federation had to appeal to the public of Manchester for assistance in the formation of women’s trade unions and that the principle of combination was pretty well accepted by the public nowadays.
She died on 14 April 1914. In its obituary the Manchester Guardian said that when her husband became MP “she entered with exceptional ardour into all movements that concerned the welfare of the district. She was a good speaker, and by her public addresses, no less than by her attractive personality, she contributed much to her husband’s success in the constituency.”