1st Edition

Women’s Economic Thought in the Eighteenth Century

Edited By Edith Kuiper
    2024 Pages
    by Routledge

    In the history of economics, women writers were all but invisible until a few decades ago. Although much work has now been recuperated, the writings on economics of eighteenth-century women authors have yet to be brought fully to light.

    This new three-volume collection from Routledge remedies that omission and makes key archival source material readily available to scholars, researchers, and students. This comprehensive compilation of eighteenth-century works by women writers includes several texts translated into English for the first time, such as an important critique on Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments (1759) by Sophie de Grouchy Condorcet.

    The collection is divided into three volumes. Volume I (‘The Economy of the Household’) addresses the following topics: moral and economic conduct; women’s position in marriage; gender equality; and household production. The second volume (‘The Economy of the Market’), meanwhile, brings together texts that address education, work, wages, access to the professions, and issues of wealth and poverty more generally. Volume III assembles materials under the title ‘Women’s Views on Institutions and Change’.

    Women’s Economic Thought in the Eighteenth Century is a treasure-trove for all serious scholars and students of economic history. The gathered works are reproduced in facsimile, giving users a strong sense of immediacy to the texts and permitting citation to the original pagination. And with a detailed and comprehensive introduction placing the materials fully in context, the collection is destined to be welcomed as a vital reference and research resource.

    Volume I: The economy of the household

    Part 1: Human Nature, Morality, and Science

    1. Mary Lee Chudleigh, The Ladies Defence: Or, the Bride-Woman’s Counsellor Answer’d: A Poem. In a Dialogue Between Sir John Brute, Sir William Loveall, Melissa, and a Parson (London: Printed for John Deeve at Bernard’s-Inn-Gate in Holborn, 1701).

    2. Theresa, Marquise de Lambert, New Reflections on the Fair Sex, Translated from French by J. Lockman (London: Printed by N. Prevost and T. Lewis, under Tom’s Coffee-House, Covent-Garden, 1729).

    3. ‘A Lady’, Female Rights Vindicated; Or the Equality of the Sexes Morally and Physically Proved (London: Printed for G. Burnet, at Bishop Burnet’s Head, without Temple-Bar, 1758).

    4. Mary Robinson, Thoughts on the Condition of Women and on the Injustice of Mental Subordination, 2nd edn. (London: Printed for T. N. Longman, and O. Rees, No. 39. Paternoster-row, by G. Woodfall, No. 22, Paternoster-row, 1799).

    Part 2: Gender Equality and Marriage

    5. Mary Masters, ‘Letter XVIII’, Familiar Letters and Poems on Several Occasions (London: Printed for the Author by D. Henry and R. Cave, 1755), pp. 76–82.

    6. Judith Sargent Murray, ‘On the Equality of the Sexes’, The Massachusetts Magazine, March–April 1790, 2, 3–4.

    7. Olympes De Gouges, The Declaration of the Rights of Women (1791), translated and reprinted in Darline Gay Levy, Harriet Branson Applewhite, and Mary Durham Johnson (eds.), Women in Revolutionary Paris 1789–1795: Selected Documents Translated with Notes and Commentary by the Editors (University of Illinois Press, 1980), pp. 87–96.

    8. Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects (London: Printed for J. Johnson, No. 72, St Paul’s Church Yard, 1792), ch. III, pp. 75–108; ch. VIII, pp. 298–319; ch. IX, pp. 320–42.

    9. Mary Hays, Appeal to the Men of Great Britain on Behalf of Women (London: Printed for J. Johnson, St Paul’s Church Yard and J. Bell, Oxford Street, 1798), pp. 277–93.

    Part 3: Experience and Production in the Household

    10. Grisell Baillie, The Household Book of Lady Grisell Baillie (1692–1733), edited, with notes and introduction, by Robert Scott-Moncrieff (Edinburgh: Printed at the University Press by T. and A. Constable for the Scottish History Society, 1911), pp. 115–25, 273–87, 304–23, 418–32.

    11. Glückel von Hameln, The Memoirs of Glückel of Hameln (1715–17), bks. 6 and 7, translated with notes by Marvin Lowenthal (Berlin, 1920). Reprinted by Shocken Books, New York (1932/1960), pp. 222–77.

    12. Eliza Lucas Pinckney, The Letterbook of Eliza Lucas Pinckney, 1739–1762, ed. Elise Pinckney (University of North Carolina Press, 1972) (excerpts).

    13. Hester Chapone, Letter VII, ‘On Economy’, in Letters on the Improvement of the Mind, Addressed to a Young Lady. By Mrs Chapone (London: Printed for J. Walter, at Homer’s Head, Charing-Cross; and E. and C. Dilly, in the Poultry, 1777), pp. 135–59.

    14. Ann MacVicar Grant, Letters From the Mountains: Being the Real Correspondence of a Lady Between 1773–1807, 4th edn., 3 vols. (London: Printed for Longman, Rees & Orme, Paternoster-row; J. Hatchard, Piccadilly; and Mrs Cook, Bury-street, St James’s, 1809).


    Part 4: Education

    15. Mary Astell, A Serious Proposal to the Ladies, for the Advancement of their True and Greatest Interest, 4th edn., pt. I (‘By a Lover of Her Sex’) (London: Printed for J. R. for R. Wilkin, at the King’s Head in St Paul’s Church-Yard, 1701). Reprinted by Source Books Press, New York, 1970, pp. 1–43.

    16. H. Cartwright, Letters I and II, Letters on Female Education, Addressed to a Married Lady (London: Printed for Edward and Charles Dilly, 1777), pp. 1–21.

    17. Mary Wollstonecraft, Thoughts on the Education of Daughters, With Reflections on Female Conduct in the More Important Duties of Life (London: Printed for J. Johnson, no. 72, St Paul’s Church-Yard, 1787), preface and pp. iii–iv, 1–29, 69–78, 93–103.

    18. Clara Reeve, ‘The Plan of a Female Community, and a Seminary of Female Education’, Plans of Education; With Remarks of the Systems of Other Writers. In a Series of Letters Between Mrs. Danford and her Friends (London: Printed for T. Hookham and J. Carpenter, New and Old Bond Street, 1792), pp. 130–62.

    19. Hanna More, The Apprentice Turned Master; Or, the Second Part of the Two Shoemakers. Shewing How James Stock from a Parish Apprentice Became a Creditable Tradesman (Dublin: Sold by William Watson, & Son (n.d.)) (first edition, sold by Marshall, 1795).

    20. Maria Edgeworth and Richard Lovell Edgeworth, ‘On Prudence and Economy’, Practical Education, Vol. II (1798), pp. 689–711, 713–30.

    Part 5: Work, Access to Professions, and Economic Dependence

    21. Mary Collier, The Woman’s Labour: An Epistle to Mr. Stephen Duck; In Answer to his Late Poem, Called The Thresher’s Labour (London: Printed for the Author; and sold by J. Roberts, in Warwick-lane; and at the Pamflet-Shops near the Royal Exchange, 1737).

    22. Elizabeth Robinson Montagu, Letter to Sara Robinson Scott (1766) (Huntington Library, San Marino).

    23. Priscilla Wakefield, Reflection on the Present Condition of the Female Sex; with Suggestions for its Improvement (London: Printed for J. Johnson, in St Paul’s Church-yard; and Darton and Harvey, in Gracechurch Street, 1798).

    Part 6: Wages, Strikes, Unions, and Poverty

    24. Anonymous, The Female Manufacturers’ Complaint: Being the Humble Petition of Dorothy Distaff, Abigail Spinning-Wheel, Eleanor Reel, etc. Spinsters to the Lady Rebecca Woolpack. With A Respectful Epistle to Sir R---St---l, Concerning Some Omissions of the Utmost Importance in His Lady’s Wardrobe (London: Printed for W. Boreham at the Angel in Paternoster Row, 1720).

    25. Hannah Griffitts, ‘The Female Patriots’ (1768), reprinted in Milcah Martha Moore’s Book, eds. Catherine La Courreye Blecki and Karin A. Wulf (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1997), pp. 172–3.

    26. ‘Edenton Ladies’ Agreement’ (1774), published in the Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser, 16 January 1775.

    27. Ester Reed, The Sentiments of an American Woman and Ideas, Relative to the Manner of Forwarding to the American Soldiers, the Presents of the American Women (John Dunlap, 1780).

    28. Sarah Trimmer, The Oeconomy of Charity; or, an Address to Ladies Concerning Sunday-Schools; The Establishment of Schools of Industry Under Female Inspection; and the Distribution of Voluntary Benefactions. To Which is Added an Appendix, Containing an Account of the Sunday-schools in Old Brentford (London: Printed by T. Bensley; for T. Longman; G. G. J. and J. Robinson, Paternoster Row; and J. Johnson, no. 72, St Paul’s Church-yard, 1787), pp. 59–80.

    29. Femme Filhastre (Anne Félicité Guinée) (1793–4), Letter to the Jacobin Regime, reprinted in Darline Gay Levy, Harriet Branson Applewhite, and Mary Durham Johnson (eds.), Selected Documents Translated with Notes and Commentary (University of Illinois Press, 1980), pp. 268–70.

    30. Mary Anne Radcliffe, The Female Advocate or, An Attempt to Recover the Rights of Woman From Male Usurpation (London: Printed for Vernor and Hood, 1799).


    Part 7: Travel Stories

    31. Celia Fiennes, Through England On a Side Saddle in the Time of William and Mary, Being the Diary of Celia Fiennes (1685–1703) (London: Field & Tuer, The Leadenhall Press, 1880).

    32. Mary Wortley Montagu, The Complete Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Vol. I (1708–20), ed. Robert Halsband (Clarendon Press, 1965).

    33. Anonymous, Journal of a Lady of Quality; Being the Narrative of a Journey from Scotland to the West Indies, North Carolina, and Portugal, in the Years 1774–1776 (1778), eds. Evangeline Walker Andrews and Charles McLean Andrews (Yale University Press, 1927), pp. 143–68.

    34. Hester Lynch Piozzi, Observations and Reflection Made in the Course of a Journey Through France, Italy and Germany, Dublin (Printed for Messrs H. Chamberlaine, L. White, P. Byrne, P. Wogan, Grubier and M’Allister, T. Neery, B. Dornin, J. Moore, and W. Jones, 1789), preface, pp. 1–25.

    Part 8: Women and Money; Institutional Analyses

    35. Sarah Chapone, The Hardships of the English Laws in Relation to Wives. With an Explanation of the Original Curse of Subjection Passed Upon the Woman. In an Humble Address to the Legislature (George Faulkner, 1735).

    36. Frances Burney, ‘A Cottage’ and ‘The Contest’, Cecilia, or Memoirs of an Heiress, 3rd edn. (London: Printed for T. Payne & Son at the Mews Gate, and T. Cadell in the Strand, 1783), pp. 155–201.

    37. Charlotte Smith, Emmeline, the Orphan of the Castle (London: Printed for T. Cadell, in the Strand, 1788), pp. 247–63.

    38. Etta Palm d’Aelders, ‘Etta Palm d’Aelders Proposes a Network of Women’s Clubs to Administer Welfare Programs in Paris and Throughout France’ (1791), reprinted in Darline Gay Levy, Harriet Branson Applewhite, and Mary Durham Johnson (eds.), Women in Revolutionary Paris 1789–1795: Selected Documents Translated with Notes and Commentary by the Editors (University of Illinois Press, 1980), pp. 68–71.

    39. Sophie de Grouchy Letters on Sympathy (1798): A Critical Edition, ed. Karen Brown (American Philosophical Society, 2008), pp. 107–83.

    Part 9: On Wealth, Social Reform, and Utopia

    40. Mary Masters, The Vanity of Human life, in Poems on Several Occasions (London: Printed by T. Browne in Bartholomew-Close for the Author, 1733), pp. 193–205.

    41. Lady Barbara Montagu and Sarah Scott, A Description of Millennium Hall, and the Country Adjacent: Together with the Characters of the Inhabitants, and Such Historical Anecdotes and Reflections as May Excite in the Reader Proper Sentiments of Humanity, and Lead the Mind to the Love of Virtue (London: Printed for J. Newbery, at the Bible and Sun, in St Paul’s Church-yard, 1762), pp. 1–30.

    42. Catharine Macaulay, An Address to the People of England, Scotland, and Ireland on the Present Important Crisis of Affairs (Printed by R. Cruttwell, in Bath, for Edward and Charles Dilly, in the Poultry, London, 1775).

    43. Anna Leatitia Barbauld, ‘Epistle to William Wilberforce, Esq. on the Rejection of the Bill for Abolishing the Slave Trade’, in Poems by Anna Lætitia Barbauld. ... A New Edition, Corrected. To which is Added, An Epistle to William Wilberforce, Esq (London: Printed for Joseph Johnson, St Paul’s Church-yard, 1792), pp. 145–52.


    Edith Kuiper is Fellow of the Research Group History and Methodology of Economics at the Faculty of Economics and Business of the University of Amsterdam and Visiting Professor at the Economics Department of the University of Sassari, Sardinia, Italy. She edited Out of the Margin: Feminist Perspectives on Economics (Routledge, 1995) with Jolande Sap, Susan F. Feiner, Notburga Ott, and Zafiris Tzannatos. With Drucillia K. Barker, she edited Towards a Feminist Philosophy of Economics (Routledge, 2003) and Feminist Economics and the World Bank (Routledge, 2006). She is Associate Editor of the journal Feminist Economics.