"THE SUFFRAGISTS OUGHT TO BE THE HAPPIEST OF MANKIND, IF HAPPINESS HAS BEEN CORRECTLY DEFINED AS THE PERPETUAL STRIVING FOR AN OBJECT OF SUPREME EXCELLENCE AND CONSTANTLY MAKING A NEARER APPROACH TO IT": FIRST EDITION OF MILLICENT GARRETT FAWCETT'S WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE: A SHORT HISTORY OF A GREAT MOVEMENT
FAWCETT, Millicent Garrett. Women's Suffrage. A Short History of a Great Movement. London and Edinburgh: T.C. & E.C. Jack, . Small octavo, original green cloth. $2000.
First edition of this history and analysis of the women's suffrage movement from the perspective of the leading moderate suffragist, in original cloth.
A concise history of the women's suffrage movement, also incorporating extensive discussion of the future of the movement, from international successes in enfranchisement to areas with potential for further gains. Fawcett was one of the earliest women's suffrage activists, focusing on quiet advances through writing (Elizabeth Barrett Browning) and respectful activism (Elizabeth Fry). A suffragist rather than a more militant suffragette, Fawcett was deeply inspired by her mentor, John Stuart Mill, and led the moderate National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). "Later generations have not found it easy to evaluate [Fawcett]. In contrast to the Pankhursts, she shrank from hero-worshippers and did not seek to be a charismatic leader. As a speaker she was persuasive rather than inspirational… She took pride in her 'Englishness' and—not only in the context of war—had some of the defects that implies. Her statesmanlike qualities were nevertheless crucial in guiding the British women's movement. The range of her contributions to public and intellectual life in an exceptionally long and influential career has only recently been recognized. Once stereotyped as a narrowly bourgeois liberal feminist, she is now appreciated as a woman who also addressed the exploitation of working women and child abuse. She argued—while never adopting the language of 'sex war'—for votes for women on the grounds that they had distinctive insights to offer and interests to defend. Changing fashions and values in politics and feminism, and her status as an emblem of the women's movement, have complicated the task of her biographers—and will continue to do so until it becomes possible to represent eminent feminists sympathetically as creatures of, as well as rebels against, their times" (ANB).
A beautiful fine copy.