Victoria, Crown Princess of Prussia to Josephine Butler Followed by a précis of the content of the letter

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter [with manuscript transcript]. On the subject of the education of women. The subject is of deep interest to her. Stresses how essential it is for women to be educated to standards recognised by men, but the taking of decided steps to this end still very unpopular. Only chance of success...adoption of well thought out plans and the implementation of them only with the advice and assurance of men of standing in the social and political world (e.g. John Stuart Mill). She presses for the opening of professions accompanied by the appropriate training places: first Governesses and teachers of all kinds; the children's nurses and hospital nurses; domestic science and other occupations such as Telegraphy, Stenography, book keeping etc. Also suggests Ladies' Clubs and Ladies' Colleges. There is one great prejudice to overcome, the belief that ladies who adopt professions cease to be gentlewomen and lose their caste.

H.R.H. says she is head of a Society for the employment of women at Berlin and she will send JB all the papers relating to her work there.


Administrative / Biographical History

Princess Victoria (1840-1901) eldest daughter of Queen Victoria. She married Frederick, Crown Prince of Prussia, on 25 Jan 1858. Frederick succeeded his father as Emperor in 1888, but died after 3 months

Biog: Princess Victoria

Windsor Castle, 7 Dec 1868

'It is to wise and experienced men that I look for the answer to men like Mr Mill ... who have all lent their talents and their eloquence to throw light upon the problem [of education for women]' - JS Mill was MP for Westminster 1865-68. He had already written several books on the questions of the day but it was not till 1869 that his best known book 'The subjection of women' was published.

M de Laveleye among the list of men supporting the cause of education of women. A Belgian Professor, economist and President of the Belgian Association for the abolition of the Police des Moeurs. Both he and his wife were friends of the Butlers.

'The subject of your letter [i.e. education of women] is one of deep interest to me' - See letters of [1 Aug 1866] JB to Edith [Leupold] and Apr 1869 JB to Mme Troubnikoff on a similar theme

See notes on both these letters

1 Aug 1866 details of German royal family

Apr 1869 notes on work for education in Germany by the Crown Princess and progress in England with the setting up of the North of England Council for the Higher Education of Women

'It is to wise and experienced men that I look for the answer; to men like ... M Jules Simon' - Minister of Public Works. He and his wife friendly to JB on her 1st Continental trip to Paris in connection with her work 1874/5

'Ladies College I look upon as a necessity' -In 1868 no universities in England or Germany were open to women. In 1878 London University opened all its degrees to women with the exception of medicine

In 1878 2 colleges for women started in Cambridge - Newnham and Girton. In 1879 2 colleges for women opened in Oxford - Lady Margaret Hall and Somerville.

Biog: Victoria, Crown Princess of Prussia (1840-1901); (Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa - Empress Consort of Frederick Emperor of Germany. Daughter of Queen Victoria and Princess Royal of Great Britain); J S Mill; M Emile de Lavaleye; M Jules Simon; Florence Nightingale