Josephine Butler

Standard Name: Butler, Josephine
Birth Name: Josephine Elizabeth Grey
Married Name: Josephine Elizabeth Butler
Used Form: an English mother
Used Form: the author of the Memoir of John Grey of Dilston
Social reformer JB is primarily remembered for her unrelenting efforts in the campaign against the Contagious Diseases Acts during the second half of the nineteenth century. She was both a gifted orator and a prolific writer on the many causes she espoused. Author of nearly forty pamphlets, she also composed books of political and personal writings: essays, biographies of people whose lives influenced her own, and an autobiography. Almost all of her writings address questions of social and political import—the repeal campaign, the double sexual standard, women's rights, and religious issues.
Petrie, Glen. A Singular Iniquity: The Campaigns of Josephine Butler. Macmillan, 1971.
Photograph of a charcoal sketch of Josephine Butler, depicted from the side with her head turned towards the viewer. Her hair is pulled back loosely and she is wearing a simple dress.
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Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Anthologization Sophia Jex-Blake
At the request of her publisher Macmillan, SJB contributed an essay on Medicine as a Profession for Women to Josephine Butler 's Woman's Work and Woman's Culture. She was friendly with Butler and...
Anthologization Jessie Boucherett
JB 's essay How to Provide for Superfluous Women appeared in Josephine Butler 's Woman's Work and Woman's Culture.
Hays, Frances. Women of the Day. Chatto and Windus, 1885.
Dedications Dora Greenwell
One of DG 's most popular works appeared, a volume of religious essays titled The Patience of Hope, dedicated to Josephine Butler ; she referred to herself allusively as the author of A Present...
Education Sarah Grand
Her attendance was made possible by a bequest left to her by a great-aunt.
Grand, Sarah. “Introduction; Chronology”. Sex, Social Purity and Sarah Grand: Volume 2, edited by Stephanie Forward, Routledge, 2000, pp. 1 - 12; 13.
SG was not happy at either school, and she describes her experience there as one of deadly dulness.
Grand, Sarah. Sex, Social Purity and Sarah Grand: Volume 1. Heilmann, AnnEditor , Routledge, 2000.
Family and Intimate relationships Isabella Ormston Ford
Emily, born five years ahead of Isabella in 1850, attended the Slade School of Art in the late 1870s and became a painter well-known in the Leeds community. Like IOF , she also became a...
Family and Intimate relationships Annie Besant
AB 's husband took up a post as an assistant mathematics master at Cheltenham College , a public school for boys in Gloucestershire.
Josephine Butler had moved from Cheltenham just before AB 's arrival.
Taylor, Anne. Annie Besant: A Biography. Oxford University Press, 1992.
Taylor, Anne. Annie Besant: A Biography. Oxford University Press, 1992.
Friends, Associates Frances Power Cobbe
Friends, Associates Millicent Garrett Fawcett
Through this work MGF met Josephine Butler , whom she greatly admired.
Friends, Associates Julia Wedgwood
As a direct result of such work, she became a friend of such women as Josephine Butler and Frances Power Cobbe .
Blain, Virginia, Patricia Clements, and Isobel Grundy, editors. The Feminist Companion to Literature in English: Women Writers from the Middle Ages to the Present. Yale University Press; Batsford, 1990.
Friends, Associates Isabella Ormston Ford
Through her mother's connection with the women's movement of the mid-Victorian period, IOF met Millicent Garrett Fawcett and her sister Agnes Garrett , with whom Isabella and her sister Bessie became close friends and correspondents...
Friends, Associates Dora Greenwell
In Lancashire she became friendly with Josephine Butler .
Bett, Henry. Dora Greenwell. Epworth Press, 1950.
Dorling, William. Memoirs of Dora Greenwell. James Clarke, 1885.
Friends, Associates Jessie Boucherett
Partly through her membership of the Kensington Society (a social and political discussion group of about fifty women inaugurated in 1865), JB broadened her acquaintance with significant members of the feminist movement, including Frances Power Cobbe
Friends, Associates Maria Grey
Her work for women's education brought MG into contact with Dorothea Beale , Emily Davies , Mary Carpenter , and Mary Gurney . Her time in Italy brought her other friends, among them the operatic...
Intertextuality and Influence Mary Stott
Here MS writes grippingly of her own life, and illuminatingly about myriad subjects of public or cultural interest: the lives, customs, and deaths of newspapers, the conspiracy of silence about sex which had not dissipated...
Leisure and Society Algernon Charles Swinburne
Stories of ACS 's extreme drinking habits and talk of his immoral personal life (largely sparked by the scandal associated with his publications) spread. Though many tales were untrue, he is said to have sometimes...


Anne Jemima Clough and Josephine Butler founded the Liverpool Ladies' Educational Society to provide a serious course of lectures for women.
Anne Jemima Clough organised Lectures for Ladies throughout Northern England.
January 1869
The Kettledrum: The Woman's Signal for Action, a feminist magazine, began publication in London by merger with Woman's World.
June 1869
The Kettledrum: The Woman's Signal for Action ended publication in London in its current form.
December 1869
The Ladies' National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts was formed as part of the movement to repeal the Contagious Diseases Acts.
31 December 1869
The Daily News published the Ladies' Protest, a document signed by 124 women which outlined their arguments for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts.
The National Association for the Promotion of Social Purity was founded to ensure purity as the law of individual and social life.
Hunt, Alan. Governing Morals: A Social History of Moral Regulation. Cambridge University Press, 1999.
26 February 1870
Josephine Butler wrote to the Dover News complaining of a conspiracy of silence
Walkowitz, Judith R. ’We Are Not Beasts of the Field’: Prostitution and the Campaign Against the Contagious Diseases Acts, 1869-1886. University of Rochester, 1974.
emanating from London papers regarding the controversial Contagious Diseases Acts.
7 March 1870
The Shield, Josephine Butler 's periodical organ of the anti-Contagious Diseases Act forces, began publication in South Shields.
The Ladies' National Association for the Repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts had 57 branches and 811 subscribing members in this year.
From March 1871
The Vigilance Association for the Defence of Personal Rights, especially in relation to Women , founded this month, advocated equality of legal treatment for citizens regardless of sex or class.
Samuel Butler anonymously published, at his own expense, his satiricalnovelErewhon.
Female Contagious Diseases Acts repealers were attacked in Pontefract, as they held a meeting to organize electoral lobbying.
The National Association for the Promotion of Social Purity (founded in 1870) was reborn as the Social Purity Alliance under the direction of Josephine Butler .