Inspiring Women

3D front cover of A Vindication of the Rights of Men, in a Letter to the Right Honourable Edmund Burke by Mary WollstonecraftNever let it be said that CLC is not on trend! Seriously, the fall-out from the ‘Jane Austen £10 note’ Twitter crisis should make us aware (a) that there are some really unpleasant people out there, using the safety of anonymity to say vile things; (b) that there appears to be a very large number of people who do not know of the significant contributions (mostly recognized and taken seriously in their own day) made by women in the past to their culture and society.

I thought I’d make a quick list of ‘our’ women writers with a note of their fields of activity, stopping when I got to fifty. (I have deliberately not included Jane Austen, George Eliot, and the Brontës, of whom even the most unreconstructed tyrannosaurs ought to have heard.) So, in alphabetical order:

Lucy Aikin: historian

Hertha Ayrton: electrical engineer

Anna Laetitia Barbauld: writer and editor

Margaret Bateson: journalist

Isabella Bird: writer and medical missionary

Margaret Bryan: educationalist

Josephine Butler: social reformer

Mona Caird: social critic

Maria Callcott: traveller and travel writer

Hester Chapone: writer and educationalist

Emily Davies: educationalist

Frances Duberly: army wife and writer

Maria Edgeworth: writer and educationalist

Amelia Edwards: traveller and Egyptologist

Emily Faithfull: printer

Millicent Garrett Fawcett: feminist and suffragist

Celia Fiennes: traveller

Caroline Herschel: astronomer

Octavia Hill: social reformer

Harriet Jacobs: ex-slave

Anna Jameson: writer, traveller and art critic

Gertrude Jekyll: craftswoman and garden designer

Dorothy Jordan: actress

Hannah Kilham: educationalist and missionary

Mary Kingsley: explorer and anthropologist

Alicia Little: writer on China

Jane Loudon: novelist, editor and garden writer

Eva Lückes: hospital matron

Jane Marcet: educationalist

Mathilde Marchesi: singer and singing teacher

Harriet Martineau: writer

Mary Wortley Montagu: satirist, poet and traveller

Susanna Moodie: Canadian pioneer and writer

Hannah More: writer and educationalist

Sydney Morgan: novelist and social historian

Florence Nightingale: nursing and healthcare pioneer

Marianne North: botanical artist and traveller

Margaret Oliphant: novelist, critic and journalist

Julia Pardoe: writer and historian

Elizabeth Rigby (Lady Eastlake): traveller and art critic

Blanche Roosevelt: singer and journalist

Emma Roberts: writer on Indian topics

Flora Shaw: journalist

Edith Jemima Simcox: sociologist and social commentator

Mary Somerville: scientist and science writer

Hester Stanhope: traveller

Mariana Starke: traveller

Hester Thrale (Mrs Piozzi): writer and traveller

Catherine Traill: botanist

Mary Wollstonecraft: novelist, writer and feminist

And that’s off the top of my head, leaving many out, and ignoring the books currently in preparation: Catharine Macaulay, historian; Flora Murray, surgeon;  Mary Seacole, another heroine of the Crimea;  Ellen Craft, escaped slave; Mary Anne Everett Green, medieval historian;  Clara Schumman, composer and pianist; Marie Tusssaud, waxwork entrepreneur and French emigrée; Frances Sheridan, writer –  to name but a few. Watch this space!


This entry was posted in Biography, Printing and Publishing History, Travel and Exploration, Women's Writing and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Inspiring Women

  1. Pingback: The Slaves Fight Back | Cambridge Library Collection Blog

  2. Pingback: A Child’s History of England | Cambridge Library Collection Blog

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