Josephine Butler to Madam [Troubnikoff]

Scope and Content

Photocopy of letter. Written from 280 South Hill Park Rd, Liverpool. She says that the last two years in England have seen a great impulse given to the education of women, and in a greater or less degree in other countries. She has had some correspondence with the Crown Princess of Prussia [see note] about an International Association for this purpose. JS Mill and 'wise men in England' have supported the idea, for which the present will be confined to an interchange of ideas by letter with persons interested in education in all countries. The Crown Princess of Prussia also approves of the idea of a little 'International Review of women's work and education' (See note). JB would also like to know about the industrial position of women in other countries and the type of education they require. She signs herself 'Josephine Butler. President of the North of England Council for the Education of Women' (See note)

Administrative / Biographical History

'There has been a great impulse given during the past two years to the education of women in England'

Foremost among those who pioneered in the provision of education for the female sex was Miss Ann Clough. In 1840 she had opened a school of her own at Ambleside. In 1866 she came to Liverpool to enlist support for the higher education of women and found sympathy and help from the Butlers. Out of this alliance came the foundation of the North of England Council for the Higher Education of Women, of which JB was made President and Miss AJ Clough, Secretary. Elizabeth Wolstenholme was one of the Manchester representatives. The Council was formed in 1867 from an amalgamation of societies trying to improve the education of women in Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Newcastle. Then in 1868 JB presented a petition to the Senate (Cambridge) asking for an examination which women over 18 could sit. This request was granted by the Senate

(See JB's letter to the 'Ladies' (the North of England Council which had sent the Petition to the Senate) c early Jul 1868, describing the presentation)

See also letter of 7 Dec 1868 Princess Victoria (Crown Princess of Prussia) to JB

'I have had some correspondence with the Crown Princess of Prussia, Princess Royal of England on the subject ... of the education of women'

For details of Victoria (Princess Royal) and her family see note letter of [1 Aug] 1866, JB to Edith [Leupold]

The cause of education for women was one of Princess Victoria's chief concerns. In the development in Germany of women's higher education, The Crown Princess was a pioneer whose labour had far reaching results

In 1868 at her instance Miss Georgina Archer was invited to Berlin and started the Victorian Lyceum, the first institution in Germany for the higher education of women

The continued interest of the Crown Princess in the Lyceum is revealed in the correspondence of Alix von Cotta to Penelope Laurence (founder of Roedean School). Through the influence of the Crown Princess, Alix von Cotta was offered and accepted the post of Head of the Lyceum

(See letters of Alix von Cotta to Penelope Lawrence vol XXIII. The letter dealing with the offer of headship is dated 1 Oct 1883 and references to her work there and the interest maintained by Victoria (as Crown Princess, Empress and widowed Empress) continue to the end of the century)

These letters are part of the MS collection of the Fawcett Library vol XXIII

'Her Royal Highness the Crown Princess of Prussia approves of the idea of a little 'International Review of Women's work and education. It would be a monthly periodical ...' - The idea of this periodical came to JB from her introduction to the volume of Essays ed by JB 'Woman's work and woman's culture' (1869) in which she wrote of the state of women's education all over Europe. The idea came to fruition: the 1st no with the title of 'Nowadays' * appeared 1 Jul 1869; and it was also the last or at any rate none has been traced. That JB wrote no more on this important subject is explained by the fact that within three months of launching 'Now-a-days' she had embarked on her crusade against the CD Acts. (See letter of [18] Jun 1869, JB to Mrs Sarah Maria Butler (her mother-in-law) asking if Emily (da of Mrs S M Butler) will subscribe to 'Now-a-days')

* A list of contributors to 'Now-a-days' which appeared on 1 Jul 1869 is given in the letter of Mrs Butler to Mme Troubnikoff of 30 Jun 1869

'Whether as in England many of them [women in industry] have to support themselves and wanting education for that purpose are right in seeking and insisting on a technical education'

JB saw clearly that the criticisms of inefficiency and incapacity levelled at women as employees would not be altered till women received training

Biog: Victoria, Crown Princess of Prussia, Princess Royal of England; John Stuart Mill; Madame Troubnikoff