Noble Workers Preface1Noble Workers Preface2

The next installment in our “why biography?” series features the preface from Noble Workers: Sketches of the Life-Work of Frances Willard, Agnes Weston, Sister Dora, Catherine Booth, the Baroness Burdett-Coutts, Lady Henry Somerset, Sarah Robinson, Mrs. Fawcett, and Mrs. Gladstone. Written by Jennie Chappell and published in London in 1910, Noble Workers features nine brief biographical sketches of the women featured in the long title.

In the preface, these women are presented as heroes, models for contemporary women to attempt to emulate. This preface was striking for its commentary on the brevity of their biographical sketches, seen on the second page featured about:

As for the brevity of our sketches, where so much more might have been recorded, we can only say that it was intentional, because in this busy age people more easily find time to read a short biography than a long one, and it has rendered possible that striking juxtaposition of varying types of noble women, whose diversity of characters and similarity of usefulness it has been on the chief objects of our work to set forth.

This “busy age” is certainly something we can all relate to! Chapell finishes her preface with a wonderful message regarding the overall goal of their text –

If we succeed in inspiring any young reader with a higher sense of the glorious possibilities of a woman’s ministry, our pleasant task will not have been in vain.

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