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Woman's Work. With Special Reference to Industrial Employment.
London: Victoria Press,, 1871. A paper read by Emily Faithfull, at the meeting of the Society of Arts, March 29th, 1871. [Together with:] A clipped signature of Emily Faithfull. Octavo (210 x 137 mm), pp. 20. Disbound. Occasional pencil marks to margins highlighting passages of the text. Faint foxing to bottom edge; an excellent copy. First edition in pamphlet form. This paper was originally published in the Arts Journal on 31 March of the same year, alongside a summary of the discussion which followed Faithfull's reading. The paper was reprinted by Faithfull's Victoria Press with updated figures based on the census which occurred in April of that year. Faithfull (1835–1895) was a founding member of the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women, and opened the Victoria Press in 1860 with the aim of providing employment for women, specifically in the role of compositors. This pamphlet addresses the issue of female employment, specifically with regards to the larger number of women in the population than men. This disparity was a major concern due to the fact that these women, termed "superfluous women", would not be able to marry, and therefore would require employment to support themselves. This was one of the leading issues which prompted the founding of the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women in 1859. In this paper however Faithfull notes that, "a Society for Promoting the Employment of Women, however admirable, cannot really do what is wanted; a national effort, in the fullest sense of the word, will alone enable us to cope". Faithfull's discussion of industrial employment focusses on the idea that women were more than "mere machines". She argues that viewing them as "mere machines" prevented women from taking on more senior roles, thereby denying young women the guidance and protection of senior women in the workplace, creating poorer working conditions, an issue which was pertinent in working women's strikes later in the century. Faithfull and the Langham Place group were active in opposing restrictive employment laws, particularly the Factory Act of 1874, but wary that too many restrictions could have adverse effects on the wages and self-dependence of women workers. Although some recent historians have argued that Faithfull's rhetoric was more moral than her business practice, her output, and the output of the Victoria Press as a whole, nevertheless remains a key part of the discussion surrounding women's labour at this time, and a basis for understanding the labour debates which occurred later in the century. This copy is together with Emily Faithfull's clipped signature. Faithfull was a prolific letter writer, having extensive correspondence with various key figures at the time, including Barbara Bodichon, Richard Cobden, Bram Stoker, and Christina Rossetti. The majority of her correspondence however was destroyed by Faithfull after her involvement in the divorce case of Helen and Henry Codrington. Uncommon, with no copies traced in the UK; just two copies were traced on OCLC at the Library of Congress and the University of Illinois.
      [Bookseller: Peter Harrington]
Last Found On: 2017-11-16           Check availability:      Biblio    

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