Saturday Selection: We’re observing International Women’s Day (Friday 8th March) with books from some very eminent 19th Century women. They include the activist Millicent Fawcett (1847-1929), novelist George Eliot (1819-1880), novelist Elizabeth Gaskell (1810-1865) and social reformer Josephine Butler (1828-1906).
Gaskell’s connections with the Portico Library are well-documented; her husband, Reverend William Gaskell, was the Portico’s chairman from 1849 to 1884, the period in which Elizabeth wrote four of her five full-length novels (as well as countless novellas and short stories). At that time, library membership was limited to those who owned property, thus disqualifying married women. Based on the library’s records, it’s believed that William borrowed several books that Elizabeth used as research material for her own writing.