Faithfull, Emily (1835–1895)

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Faithfull, Emily (1835–1895)

English feminist, philanthropist, and business-woman. Name variations: Faithful. Born at Headley Rectory in Surrey, England, in 1835; died in Manchester, England, on May 31, 1895; youngest daughter of Ferdinand Faithfull (rector of Headley, near Epsom, England); attended boarding school in Kensington and was presented at court.

Emily Faithfull, aware of the lack of opportunities for women in industry, set up her own printing firm in Edinburgh in 1857, employing women only. Moving to London the following year, she became secretary of the first Society for Promoting the Employment of Women. Two years later, she founded the Victoria Press in Great Coram Street. But because she employed women along with men, the company was received with hostility from the printer's unions; presumably because it encouraged immorality. Even so, it soon acquired a reputation for excellent work, and in 1862 Faithfull was appointed printer and publisher-in-ordinary to Queen Victoria . In 1863, she started the Victoria Magazine, a monthly that for 18 years advocated a woman's right to hold monetary employment. Faithfull also became involved with publications that her firm printed, including The English-woman's Journal, and published a novel in 1868, Change Upon Change: A Love Story.

In 1864, her reputation was permanently tarnished when she became involved in a highly publicized divorce suit between Henry Codrington (later admiral) and Helen Codrington . Faithfull resigned from the Victoria Press, but after joining the Women's Trade Union League she founded the West London Express in 1877, again staffed by women compositors. She also lectured widely and successfully on women's issues both in England and the United States, which she had visited in 1872 and would again in 1882. In 1888, Faithfull was awarded a civil list pension of £50.