Josephine Butler to Edith Leupold

Archive Unit
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 3JBL/10/51
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 3839
  • Dates of Creation
      [9 Apr 1875]
  • Physical Description
      1 item

Scope and Content

Incomplete letter, odd sheets, signed 'Aunt Josie' dated by 'case of Mrs Percy' 1875. Mrs Percy, who worked as a singer and entertainer in the Aldershot area and therefore came under the operation of the Acts, was harried by the police and finally committed suicide. JB says 'This Aldershot has given me much to do'. It has roused the country. Lord Charles Beresford who had intended to press for the extension of the Acts to all seaports has, on account of this suicide, withdrawn his resolution. Rest of the letter is family news.

Administrative / Biographical History


Edith was a niece of JB who married Ludwig Leupold (a Swiss bank official) and lived at Genoa. Her home there was an open house for all her relatives especially JB and her family. She was very interested in JB's work amongst the outcasts at Liverpool. JB kept her informed about it and her later campaign against the CD Acts


This was Guiseppe Nathan an ardent Italian worker for the Cause, recruited by JB during her winter trip on the Continent 1874/1875

Date: Reference to 'this suicide at Aldershot' gives us the year as 1875 and the month date is given in a letter of 9 Apr 1875 JB to HJ Wilson which says: 'A crowded meeting of working men was held last night here [Liverpool] on this case. Simpson spoke magnificently Bligh tells me'. In this letter the same meeting with William Simpson's magnificent speech is described: 'Yesterday the working men of Liverpool held an Indignation Meeting'. Date is therefore 8 Apr for the meeting of 9 Apr for the letter. (For details of the 'Percy Case' (or 'Aldershot Case') see Collection of letters placed together at the beginning of Apr 1875)

'Georgie and Stanley'

The two elder sons of JB

'poor Charlie'

Charles the youngest son, then at Clifton College


Was the second son of Tell and Hatty Meuricoffre. Fred was at Cambridge reading Law

'If a Mr and Mrs William Clark should by chance call on you know that they are a very good nice young couple'

William and Helen Clark were close friends of JB. They were Quakers and wealthy (the Shoe Firm now C & J Clark Ltd) and were generous both to the Cause and with help for private needs for JB and her family.

'It is difficult to get a man to go, a French speaker and thoroughly up in our question'

This was an appeal from France for an Englishman who would help them to start the campaign. Mettetal (Predecessor of Lecour as Head of the Police des Moeurs) attended a meeting at which JB spoke during her campaign begun in Paris Dec 1874 and challenged them to meet him to do battle on the question. No Frenchman felt equal to such an ordeal and appealed for help to JB. JB wrote round to such friends as she thought might help but unavailingly. See letters of 9 Apr 1875 to HJ Wilson, 14 Apr JB to Mrs Wilson, 20 Apr to R Spence Watson

'Medical Enquirer'

See note on this letter of J Stansfeld to Dr Carter 7 Mar 1875

'Miss Percy is coming to stay with us tomorrow on Monday to be safe and comforted ...'

This was the eldest daughter aged 16 of the unfortunate Mrs Percy who committed suicide, and JB immediately offered her home to the girl, which was accepted by the girl's uncle acting as guardian

'Do you know that Hannah Grey is going to be married to Ralph Tweddle, he is a very good fellow'

Hannah Grey was the second daughter of George Annett Grey (1815-1886), an elder brother of Josephine, and was therefore a 1st cousin of JB's sons, George, Stanley and Charles. Her dates are 1845-1914 and she was married to RH Tweddle in 1875

Biog: Edith Leupold; Mrs Percy and Miss Percy; Fred Meuricoffre; Mr and Mrs William Clark; Alfred and Harriet Parker; Dr Carter; William Crosfield; Lord Charles Beresford; William Simpson; Guiseppe Nathan; Dr Carter