The Victoria Press Circle: an Introduction

Reconstructing the community of the Victoria Press to explore connections among print culture, periodicals, and feminist history.

 Emily Faithfull and a group of feminist activists founded the Victoria Press as a charitable venture dedicated to “the Employment of Women.” It sought to provide new avenues for women to work in the printing industry. The Victoria Press Circle will offer network visualizations of the women and men involved in the Victoria Press, based on selected contents of the feminist periodical English Woman’s Journal (1858-1864) and three anthologies, The Victoria Regia (1861), Poems: An Offering to Lancashire (1863), and A Welcome: Original Contributions in Poetry and Prose (1863). All were printed at the Victoria Press by female workers.

Ultimately, The Victoria Press Circle’s open-access website will display three network visualizations of those involved in the Victoria Press: one composite visualization for the three anthologies; one visualization for the English Woman’s Journal (EWJ); and one combined visualization for all the publications. In addition to literary contributors, the visualizations will include compositors, engravers, printers, editors, and paper manufacturers.

This project will help to reconstruct the history of the Victoria Press, since there is no existing archive. Furthermore, it is the first project to represent Victorian poetry as a collaborative endeavor among women with a tripartite aim of social reform, literary recognition, and artisanship. None of these women currently have significant digital representation; The Victoria Press Circle joins a growing contingent of digital efforts to combat the critical undervaluing of texts in female-produced periodicals and anthologies.