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Book of the Week — Woman’s Work and Woman’s Culture: A Series of Essays

“…wherever one class or set of human beings has been placed at a disadvantage as compared with another class, has been deprived of whatsoever just privileges or denied a legitimate share of God’s endowment of the world, the class so treated is not always the one for whom our gravest fears admit of the most reasonable justification…the class which suffers most eventually, is not the class which is deprived, oppressed, or denied, but that which deprives, oppresses, or denies.” — Josephine E. Butler

Woman’s Work and Woman’s Culture
Josephine E. Butler, ed.
London: Macmillan and Co., 1869
First edition
HQ1596 W66 1869

Josephine E. Butler is considered the founding mother of modern feminism. Political and union leader and writer Millicent Fawcett (1847-1949) referred to Butler as “the most distinguished English woman of the nineteenth century.” Butler was a social reformer and activist, remembered for her leadership in the campaign to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts (1870-86), which sought to regulate the spread of venereal disease by imprisoning prostitutes and subjecting them to medical and police inspection. From 1867 to 1873, she was the President for the North England Council for Promoting the Higher Education of Women. She wrote ninety books and pamphlets. The essays in this collection include “The Final Cause of Woman,” by activist and anti-vivisectionist Frances Power Cobbe (1822-1904); “Education Considered as a Profession for Women,” by Reverend George Butler (the author’s husband, 1819-1890); “Medicine as a Profession for Women,” by Sophia Louisa Jex-Blake (1840-1912); and “The Teaching of Science,” by James Stuart, educational reformer and politician (1843-1913). Rare Books copy bound in publisher’s blue cloth, double-ruled in blind with blindstamped central panel, gilt spine.

“But all the greatest benefits which have been won for our race have come through the instrumentality of those who were striving after good that was, for the time, unattainable. If we aimed only at what we could reach, we should reach nothing…disappointment is often the prelude to our greatest gain…” — Julia Wedgewood, “Female Suffrage, Considered Chiefly with Regard to Its Indirect Results.”

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