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Philanthropy and the Construction of Victorian Women's Citizenship

Philanthropy and the Construction of Victorian Women's Citizenship: Lady Frederick Cavendish and Miss Emma Cons

Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 312
  • Book Info
    Philanthropy and the Construction of Victorian Women's Citizenship
    Book Description:

    This book uses Cons's and Cavendish's partnership and work as an illuminating point of departure for exploring the larger topic of women's philanthropic campaigns in late Victorian and Edwardian society.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6558-3
    Subjects: History, Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 3-15)

    In 1893 the philanthropist Baroness Angela Burdett-Coutts assembled a comprehensive report calculating the extent and the variety of British women’s work in charitable endeavours. One of the conclusions she reached was that well over half a million women in Britain were “occupied continuously and more or less professionally” working with charities and that more than twenty thousand were able to financially support themselves by such work.¹ Beyond that lay the thousands of other women who worked for pay with charities on a part-time basis and beyond even them stood the hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of women who volunteered...

  6. 1 Lucy Cavendish
    (pp. 16-58)

    In early December 1863, Lucy Lyttelton, then twenty-two, spent the weekend at Chatsworth, the principal country house of the Duke of Devonshire. Late Friday night she recorded in her diary: “At dinner I got into an argument with Lord Frederick Cavendish on the Church, which excited and interested me.”¹ It must have been an interesting conversation for both parties: a week later, as Lord Frederick had been invited by Lucy’s aunt, Catherine Gladstone, to spend the weekend at Hawarden, the two young persons continued to discuss “Church questions.”² Four months later, they were engaged. So were brought together the two...

  7. 2 Circumventing the Bishops: Women’s Philanthropy and the Church of England
    (pp. 59-95)

    Lucy Cavendish was a great churchwoman. The Anglican Church was the bedrock of her life. In town she would usually attend services twice on Sundays, and when in the country, on weekdays as well. As her sister-in-law once affectionately said of her, “Church is Lucy’s public-house, and unfortunately there’s no keeping her out of it.”¹ Lucy Cavendish not only derived spiritual sustenance from the Anglican Church, she found it a wholly admirable institution and was involved with it in many different aspects.² This was not difficult; in the latter half of the nineteenth century, the Church of England offered a...

  8. 3 Emma Cons
    (pp. 96-134)

    Aristocrats like Lucy Cavendish were not the only women who could create social networks of industrious and practical women or committees of the monied and influential. This chapter provides a case study of a resourceful woman who, although coming from circumstances of very little power or influence, was also able to create and employ overlapping circles of various philanthropic reformers, establishing her own personal “standing committee” of the powerful and well-connected on which she could repeatedly call for advice, capital, and access to power.

    Emma Cons was a remarkably influential woman. When London’s first county councillors assembled in 1888, their...

  9. 4 Opera for Lambeth
    (pp. 135-158)

    For many late Victorian philanthropists, Congreve’s notion of music possessing charms to soothe a savage breast was not simply poetry, but a practical idea whose time had come. The Rev. Henry Haweis, in 1871, wrote a slim volume of ethical musings,Music and Morals, articulating a philosophy wherein music itself possessed a “high mission” with the capabilities to “soothe, relieve, recreate and elevate” the people.¹ “There are great operas,” Haweis wrote, “which are calculated to ennoble whilst they delight; there are songs which stir within us the finest impulses.”²Music and Moralsstruck a chord with the reading public and...

  10. 5 The Citizens of Morley College
    (pp. 159-198)

    In October 1885, four young men presented themselves at the side door of the Royal Victoria Hall. They were enrolled in the first regular scientific classes which were being attempted as an experiment, growing out of the interest shown in the Friday night “penny science lectures.” The courses offered were in mechanical drawing, geometry, and electricity and magnetism. Since all four students worked during the day, classes were held in the evening in one of the Old Vic’s spare dressing rooms, and tuition for the season was two shillings and sixpence.¹ The classes quickly grew in popularity; the original four...

  11. 6 Philanthropy and Citizenship
    (pp. 199-219)

    Women’s good works for the first half of the nineteenth century were understood as being a well-accepted, indeed laudable, variety of female associational life. “Charity is the calling of a lady; the care of the poor is her profession … it is her bounden duty to administer to them.” Hannah More had the character Mrs Stanley make this affirmation in her 1808 novel,Coelebs in Search of a Wife.¹ This was an accepted view then and it prevailed without much challenge for at least another fifty years. We hear it again, virtually unchanged, from Louisa Twining, who wrote in 1858...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 220-228)

    This book has attempted to illuminate a number of aspects of the Victorian philanthropic world. Primarily, it has sought to represent a picture of the men, and particularly the women, who came together time and again to form and re-form into committees and campaigns, creating the Venn diagrams that made up the interconnected circles of Victorian philanthropy. Using the lives and endeavours of Lucy Cavendish and Emma Cons as a dual case study was not a random choice. Mapping the social geography of philanthropic Victorian society without a frame of reference would have been excessively unwieldy. The lives and philanthropic...

  13. Notes
    (pp. 229-272)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 273-288)
  15. Index
    (pp. 289-295)