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Edited by Robert W. Dimand, Mary Ann Dimand and Evelyn L. Forget
Beatrice Potter Webb
Other sources and references Fitzpatrick, E. (1991), ‘Caroline F. Ware and the Cultural Approach to History’, American Quarterly, 43, 173–98. Beatrice Potter Webb (1858–1943) Martha Beatrice Potter Webb was born on 2 January 1858, the eighth daughter of Richard and Laurencina Potter. She grew up at Standish House on the River Severn in Gloucestershire. Though she had little formal education, she ‘was educated at home by governesses; by extensive travel on the continent; and by a wide and serious range of reading’ (Hamilton, 1959, p. 936). The works of Herbert Spencer and Auguste Comte were early inﬂuences on her thought. Alfred Marshall too had an inﬂuence. On 8 March 1889, Beatrice Potter noted in her diary several long talks she had with Marshall. After baiting Potter with his nettlesome views on women’s place in marriage, Marshall turned to her research interests. Potter recounts his advice: ‘There is one thing that you, and only you can do – an inquiry into that unknown ﬁeld of female labour. You have (unlike most women) a fairly trained intellect, and the courage and capacity for original work, and yet you have an insight into a woman’s life. There is no man in England who could undertake with any prospect of success an inquiry into female labour … if you devote yourself to a study of your own sex as an industrial factor, your name will be a household word two hundred years hence.’ (Webb, 1982–85, vol. 1, p. 274). At the...
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