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Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
Priscilla Wakeﬁeld (1751–1832) The Quaker philanthropist and author Priscilla Wakeﬁeld (née Bell) was born in Tottenham, England, on 31 January 1751, and married the London merchant Edward Wakeﬁeld on 3 January 1771. She established several savings banks (then called ‘thrift banks’). According to the Dictionary of National Biography, ‘She resided at Tottenham, and almost the ﬁrst savings bank in existence was that founded by her there, in what is now the Ship Inn Yard. It was commenced under the auspices of a friendly society established by her at Tottenham on 22 Oct. 1798 … She also formed in Tottenham a charity for lying-in women in 1791.’ She was a successful children’s author: The Juvenile Travellers, an imaginary tour of Europe ﬁrst published in 1801, reached its nineteenth edition in 1850, while A Family Tour through the British Empire, ﬁrst published in 1804, appeared in 15 editions by 1840. Eleven editions of Wakeﬁeld’s An Introduction to Botany in a Series of Familiar Letters were published from 1796 to 1841, and it was translated into French in 1801. Kathryn Sutherland (1995) draws attention to the striking critique of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations in Wakeﬁeld’s Reﬂections on the Present Condition of the Female Sex, with Suggestions for its Improvement (1798). Wakeﬁeld objected that Smith ignored the exclusion of women from digniﬁed and well-paid work, which forced women into poverty and prostitution. She proposed that, to counteract that phenomenon, male workers should be excluded...
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