London: Chapman and Hall, Ltd., 1909. First edition. Some stains, likely paint, to front cover. Contemporary bookplate to front pastedown and four contemporary ink ownership stamps of the National Council of Women (two to front flyleaf, one to half-tile, one to title-page). Toning to endpapers. A very good, tight, internally clean copy. Publisher’s green cloth titled in black. Octavo. vi, 284, [8, ads] pp. Item #17101
Argues that women should be considered workers in a marriage and, therefore, extended the same rights as workers outside the home. In the preface, the author writes, “The love of man and woman is, no doubt, a thing of infinite importance; but also of infinite importance is the manner in which woman earns her bread and the economic conditions under which she enters the family and propagates the race. Thus an inquiry into the circumstances under which the wife and mother plies her trade seems…necessary and justifiable…It will not be disputed that the manner in which a human being earns his livelihood tends to mold and influence his character—to warp or improve it. The man who works amidst brutalizing surroundings is apt to become brutal; the man from whom intelligence is demanded is apt to exercise it…In the same way the trade of marriage tends to produce its own particular type; and my contention is that woman, as we know her, is largely the product of the conditions imposed upon her by her staple industry. “I desire to see an alteration in the conditions of our staple industry…[T]here are certain grave disadvantages attaching to that institution as it exists today. These disadvantages I believe to be largely unnecessary and avoidable; but at present they are very real and the results produced by them are anything but favorable to the mental, physical and moral development of woman.”.
Cicely Hamilton (1872 – 1952) was a suffragist, writer, and actress. In 1908, she and Bessie Hatton founded the Women Writers’ Suffrage League, which eventually counted Alice Meynell, Olive Schreiner, and numerous other important women writers. She performed in Fanny’s First Play by George Bernard Shaw and wrote important suffrage plays like How the Vote was Won and A Pageant of Great Women. Hamilton was also one of four directors of the Lena Ashwell Players upon its founding in 1923.