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Mary Carpenter

(1807—1877) educationist and penal reformer


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(1807–1877), British educational and social reformer whose well-publicized domestic and imperial work made her a role model for late Victorian British feminists. Inspired by Unitarian reformist principles, Mary Carpenter's philanthropic activities covered a host of social issues, most notably the establishment of secular “ragged” and reformatory schools for destitute children and juvenile offenders. Carpenter's imperial reform work, too, attracted a great deal of notice. Her Six Months in India (1868), a report on Indian women, is considered a particularly rich source for understanding women's relationship to empire. In heightening English public interest in Indian women, the book linked Carpenter with the challenge of colonial reform, a link solidified in 1870 when she founded the National Indian Association to promote social reform, including female education, in India.

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From The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: History.


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