Frances Power Cobbe

Standard Name: Cobbe, Frances Power
Birth Name: Frances Power Cobbe
Nickname: Fan
Nickname: Fanny
Pseudonym: C.
Pseudonym: F.
Pseudonym: F. P. C.
Pseudonym: Only a Woman
Pseudonym: Merlin Nostradamus
Used Form: Miss Cobbe
As one of the most prominent Victorian writers of non-fiction prose, and the only feminist of the period who wrote regularly in periodicals, FPC published prolifically in a range of genres from reportage and travel writing to social criticism, theology, and ethics. As a professional journalist she wrote more than a hundred periodical essays, and above a thousand anonymous newspaper leaders. She published, at a conservative estimate, eighteen books and innumerable tracts. A key figure in the Victorian women's movement, she produced ground-breakingly trenchant as well as frequently witty analyses of women's social and political disabilities, representing womanly duty as feminist praxis. All her social writings are grounded in her life-long effort to promulgate a nondenominational theistic system of ethics. In her later career she dedicated herself to fighting animal vivisection (a cause she characterized as an abolitionist crusade analogous to anti-slavery) and the campaign against the Contagious Diseases Acts. For the anti-vivisection campaign alone she produced considerable journalism and at least two hundred tracts. Her theology, ethics, feminism, and anti-vivisection converged in her argument that sympathy—beyond as well as within the human community—was an index of true civilisation.
Hamilton, Susan. “Locating Victorian Feminism: Frances Power Cobbe, Feminist Writing, and the Periodical Press”. Nineteenth-Century Feminisms, No. 2, pp. 48 -66.
Mitchell, Sally. Frances Power Cobbe: Victorian Feminist, Journalist, Reformer. University of Virginia Press, 2004.
2, 220
Black and white photograph of Frances Power Cobbe in middle age. She faces forward, but looks out slightly to her right. Her expression is resolute. Her grey hair is pulled away from her face, and she wears a coat with a large fur collar, under which is visible a shirt with a stiff white collar and a silver chain.
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Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
death Augusta Webster
Theodore Watts-Dunton 's tribute in the Athenæum recalled a noble band of women represented by George Eliot , Mrs. Webster, and Miss Cobbe , who, in virtue of lofty purpose, purity of soul, and deep...
death Lydia Becker
She died at the Clinique Juillard before being seen by a doctor, and was buried in Geneva. Among the many who paid tribute to her were Arabella Shore and Frances Power Cobbe .
Blackburn, Helen. Women’s Suffrage. Source Book Press, 1970.
Dedications Catharine Amy Dawson Scott
CADS was the first poet to be published by Heinemann . The book was dedicated to F. P. reverent affection and admiration:
Scott, Catharine Amy Dawson. Idylls of Womanhood. Heinemann, 1892.
presumably this is the prominent feminist activist Frances Power Cobbe
Education Anna Kingsford
She had been inspired to discover more about medical research after publishing an anti-vivisection letter from Frances Power Cobbe in her journal, The Lady's Own Paper.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
In preparation for her studies, AK dabbled with...
Friends, Associates Anna Kingsford
AK 's wide-ranging interests brought her into contact with an array of people known to a greater or lesser extent in the intellectual life of the day. Through the women's movement she met Barbara Bodichon
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 Emily Faithfull
As a member of the Langham Place GroupEF counted most of the women activists of the day among her friends. Her far-flung circle of associates included Adelaide Procter and Frances Power Cobbe .
Stone, James S. Emily Faithfull: Victorian Champion of Women’s Rights. P. D. Meany, 1994.
183, 16
Friends, Associates Anna Kingsford
AK appears to have had a somewhat complicated relationship with Frances Power Cobbe . Their association seems to have begun around 1872, when Kingsford moved to London and became an active member of the English...
Friends, Associates Emily Faithfull
EF suffered in various ways as a result of the trial. The sense that she had prevaricated, at the very least, alienated many of her associates on The English Woman's Journal, including Emily Davies
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 Felicia Skene
From her youth FS was accustomed to mixing with distinguished people. Sir Walter Scott , a friend of both of her parents, found her youthful company a relief when he was old and ill. In...
Friends, Associates Mary Carpenter
This house was bought for her by Lady Byron , who also arranged for Carpenter's close friend and fellow activist Frances Power Cobbe to move into Red Lodge with her in November that year. Cobbe...
Friends, Associates Louisa May Alcott
LMA was a friend of, among others, Frances Hodgson Burnett , Ralph Waldo Emerson , who helped her family manage their financial difficulties, and Henry David Thoreau , who taught science to her and her...
Friends, Associates Geraldine Jewsbury
GJ entered the social scene of the capital with several connections already made. Her London friends included members of the Kingsley and Rossetti families, feminist reformer Frances Power Cobbe , author John Ruskin , Samuel Carter
Friends, Associates Herbert Spencer
His broad social circle included several other women writers. Frances Power Cobbe , Eliza Lynn Linton , Matilda Betham-Edwards , and sisters Maria Grey and Emily Shirreff , were all his acquaintances. Later in life...


Francis Coventry anonymously published The History of Pompey the Little; or, the life and adventures of a lap-dog, a novelà clef which satirizes Pompey's successive owners.
23 June 1849
Louisa Nottidge 's relatives were were put on trial for confining her against her will in a lunatic asylum; she was awarded £50 damages.
The Royal Academy unleashed the full weight of its criticism against the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood .
20 December 1852
Britain annexed South Burma during the Second Burmese War.
June 1853
The Act for the Better Prevention of Aggravated Assault Upon Women and Children made wife assault punishable by up to six months imprisonment or a £20 fine.
3 November 1855
An advertisement marked the launch of the conservative (high Tory and Anglo-Catholic ), weeklySaturday Review; it focused on Politics, Literature, Science, and Art.
16 April 1860
King Victor Emmanuel II made his triumphal entry into Florence.
Early 1862
Sculptor Harriet Hosmer was working in Rome on a commission for patron of the arts Marian Alford , entitled Fountain of the Siren.
April 1862
The Senate of the University of London voted against allowing women into their medical degree programme.
20 March 1863
The executive of the Ladies' London Emancipation Society first convened at the home of Mentia Taylor ; the Society aimed to enlist British sympathy for the North in the US Civil War.
Unitarian and feminist Mentia Taylor formed in London the Pen and Pencil Club to foster literary and artistic exchange.
August 1864
The English Woman's Journal, a practical and theoretical source of organized feminism from London, merged into The Alexandra Magazine and English Woman's Journal.
23 May 1865
The Kensington Society , a quarterly women's discussion group devoted to social and political issues, held its inaugural meeting in London.
Autumn 1867
The London National Society for Women's Suffrage was formed under the direction of Frances Power Cobbe , Millicent Garrett Fawcett , and others.
January 1868
W. Hepworth Dixon published Spiritual Wives, about sensational religious practices.