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Webb, Beatrice.

My Apprenticeship.


Webb, Beatrice. My Apprenticeship. London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1926.
Thick 8vo.; photographs and illustrations throughout; blue cloth, stamped in gilt; pictorial dust-jacket reproducing a photograph of Beatrice Webb by Bernard Shaw; jacket lightly darkened, few occasional chips.
First edition of the English Socialist-Feminist's autobiography; a scarce book, particularly so in jacket. Beatrice Webb (1858-1943, née Potter), economist, essayist, and diarist, first became known by the accounts she wrote of her experiences disguised as an East End work-girl in her cousin Charles Booth's study 19th-century (1888) and later for her accounts of the tailoring trade and the Jewish community in Booth's 1889 Life and Labour of the People of London. This early investigative journalism cemented Webb's lifelong interest in the daily lives of the working poor, particularly its women. She joined the Fabian Society before she was thirty; there she met her good friend Bernard Shaw and her future husband, political economist Sidney Webb. Together the radical couple founded The London School of Economics, 1895, and The New Statesman magazine, 1912. The Webb's massive study of English local government, The History of Trade Unionism, was published in 1894. Webb's autobiography deals at some length with her activism and with her emerging sense of outrage at the treatment of women of all classes.

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