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Quaker Studies

Abstract

In the nineteenth century, women Friends frequently preserved private family papers - spiritual memoranda, letters, diaries, photograph albums, household accounts, visitors books and so on. One such collection holds the personal papers of women in, among others, the Bragg, Priestman, Bright, and Clark families, who lived during this period mainly in the regions of Newcastle, Manchester and Bristol. Such material allows an exploration of the domestic culture shared among these families and, in particul ar, the legacy of family memory preser ved among this collection. A significant part of that legacy, it is argued, was the various representations of womanliness contained within it, especially as such representations might inform the role undertaken by three generations of this circle within women's rights campaigns. Its findings suggest the need to review aspects of the history of the women's movement by exploring more fully the personal and religious bases of early feminism; equally, it argues the value of a different focus for Quaker history in this period, especially in terms of the relationship between the religious beliefs of Friends and radical politics, including sexual politics.

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