Signed photograph of bust of Josephine Butler
The sculptor, Alexander Munro was a friend of the Butlers from their Oxford days; in 1865, the year after her death, he sent a bust of their daughter, Eva, which her father declared, The most perfect likeness of our dear child, that marble is capable of conveying. In a letter of June 1868, Josephine wrote, I have tried in vain three times to get a decent [photograph] of myself. They are somehow never the least like, but I have at last got one done of Munros bust of me, which is nice I think. It can be had from Messrs. Vandyke and Brown, 31 Bold Street Liverpool.
Picture of Liverpool College, Shaw Street, c.1845
George Butler was invited to become Principal of Liverpool College at the end of 1865, and in January 1866, the family moved to Liverpool. No greater contrast could have been found than [Liverpool] presented to the academic, intellectual character of Oxford, or the quiet educational and social conditions at Cheltenham, declared Josephine. In a letter dated June 1869, she announced I made my first attempt at public speaking last Friday, in the College.
JB 1/1 1869/06/18; R10.15(27)
Report of the first meeting of the North of England Council for the Promotion of Higher Education for Women, 1868
Although soon overshadowed by her campaign against the iniquities of the Contagious Diseases Acts, Josephine was deeply involved in the movement to improve educational provision for women. She was President of the North of England Council for the Promotion of Higher Education for Women, on the committee of the Ladies Education Society, which organised lectures at Liverpool Royal Institution, and founded the magazine Now-a-days as an international review devoted to the advancement of the education of women.
MS statement to her sons, on her call to action
The Butlers brought to Liverpool their grief at the loss of their only daughter, Eva, in 1864. In her Memoir of the life of her husband, Josephine recalls I became possessed with an irresistible desire to go forth and find some pain keener than my own to meet with people more unhappy than myself It was not difficult to find misery in Liverpool.. This statement, written after Georges death in 1890, explains the beginnings of her campaigning work.
Prayers on the opening of the Industrial Home, Liverpool
The mass of misery Josephine found herself surrounded by in Liverpool led her to take immediate practical action to help the few she could. The Butlers house became the last home of dying women rescued from the streets and workhouse. They later took a house near their own as a House of Rest (subsequently the Home for Female Incurables) and established an Industrial Home to meet in part the needs of women wanting employment ill-educated and ill-paid pressing by thousands around us.
Campaign for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts Letterheads
The Contagious Diseases Acts (1864-1869) were a move towards introducing the continental model of state regulation of prostitution into Britain; they were applied to named ports and garrison towns, with the aim of reducing sexually-transmitted diseases in the armed forces. Women suspected of being prostitutes (but not their clients) were subjected to compulsory medical examination and registration with the police, whose extended powers effectively enabled them to decide who was and was not a prostitute. Opposition to the Acts was organised initially by the LadiesNational Association for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts, founded in 1869 under the leadership of Josephine Butler. The campaign later extended into the international and imperial arena; the British, Continental and General Federation was founded in 1875.
JB 1/1 1871/01/19; JB 1/1 1877/04/22
Campaign for the repeal of the Contagious Diseases Acts Publications
Josephine Butler wrote prolifically in support of the campaign for repeal (which ended successfully in 1886); by the time the Butlers left Liverpool in 1882, she had already published more than 40 books, pamphlets and speeches, many of which were published by the Liverpool firm of Thomas Brakell. In a letter of 1901 she mentions the new edition of Whos Who, which gives a list of her writings, It appals me even to read it! No wonder I am tired.
Butler B (PC 4,9,14)
Watercolour of Ellens Isle, Loch Katrine (Josephine Butler)
The Butlers family holidays provided a necessary escape from arduous work at Liverpool, and a chance to enjoy outdoor pursuits in surroundings very different from the city, which, Josephine declared, if we except some of its central streets and fine buildings, is far from being a beautiful town Most towns have an outlet somewhere, but there is no country near Liverpool. Their summer holiday in 1871 was spent in the Scottish Highlands, including Loch Katrine, where we spent two days, making several sketches.
Watercolour of Castle Museum, Innsbrück (Josephine Butler)
In the summer of 1873, the Butlers toured in the Tyrol and Bavarian Highlands. A diary entry for Friday, July 18, records We were well housed at Innsbrück, and much enjoyed the picturesque town and its surroundings. The familys relish for the mountain scenery of their holidays is recalled in Josephines Life of her husband. These vacation tours were to us like sunlit mountain tops rising from the cloud-covered plain of our laborious life at Liverpool.
Obituaries of Josephine Butler
Josephine Butlers death on 30 December 1906 at Wooler, Northumberland, was widely reported in the national and provincial press. The reports reflected a concensus about her status as a social reformer, but differed greatly in their attitude to the causes she fought for.
Noble Women Windows in Liverpool Anglican Cathedral
The selection of, preferably local, women as typical examples of various virtues to be represented in the windows of the Lady Chapel was made in 1908 and 1909. The list included Josephine Butler, depicted in front of lilies, as a representative of all brave champions of purity. The inclusion of her portrait in this context is particularly appropriate, since Josephine Butler is the only post-Reformation woman who appears in the Anglican liturgical calendar (30 May). The rather unsuccessful portrait is based on a reproduction of the George Richmond crayon drawing of 1852, suggested by her son George, in response to an enquiry from Bishop Chavasse of Liverpool in 1910. All the glass in the Lady Chapel was replaced after WW2 damage, but the original designs were reproduced.
Butler D (PC2)
Josephine Butler House Review, December 1925
The year following Josephine Butlers death, Bishop Chavasse appointed Jessie Higson to organise preventive and rescue work in the Liverpool diocese, out of which grew the training house for moral welfare work, Josephine Butler Memorial House. The House opened in 1920, at 15 Princes Avenue, Liverpool, with Jessie Higson as Warden. A single copy of the Josephine Butler House Review survives; the cover is decorated with a sketch of the bungalow in Heswall, Tranquillity, which was bought by the Pilkington family in 1923 for the use of students who, like Josephine Butler, needed respite from the city and their work with its poorest inhabitants.
Josephine Butler Centenary
In 1928, services and meetings were held in many places, including Liverpool, to celebrate the centenary of the birth of Josephine Butler. Once again, the portrait chosen for reproduction was the George Richmond drawing. The postcard was originally printed with the dates 1828-1928 but a later version gives (correctly) Josephine Butlers birth and death dates, 1828-1906. The choice of the portrait may have been influenced by Josephines stated dislike of many photographs, particularly in old age. In 1900, she turned down a correspondents request for a photograph, saying I have declined for many years to be photographed, because every attempt has stamped upon the face such an expression of profound melancholy & suffering as wholly belies my character.
JB 2/1/4; JB 3/4/9
The opening of the Josephine Butler Memorial House at 34, Alexandra Drive, Liverpool
Even before the centenary celebrations of 1928, the House set up to promulgate and maintain the cardinal principles of the International Abolitionist Federation as laid down by its founder Josephine Butler had had to move to large premises, at 6 and 7 Abercromby Square. After the Second World War, expansion was necessary again, and following an appeal for funds, the House moved to 34, Alexandra Drive. Over the fireplace in the lecture room can be seen a larger reproduction of the ubiquitous George Richmond portrait; the JBMH archives also contain a watercolour copy of the drawing. The formal and informal events marking the House opening were commemorated by the students in a handwritten, illustrated scrapbook; they included a performance of Scenes from the Life of Josephine Butler as part of the programme of light entertainment, known in the House as a Foolish Evening.
JBMH 3/6; JBMH 3/8; JBMH 4/5/4
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