© 2019

Mrs Humphry Ward and Greenian Philosophy

Religion, Society and Politics


  • Presents the Victorian writer and reformer Mary Ward (Mrs Humphry Ward) as a Greenian woman by examining the philosophy of Thomas Hill Green

  • Provides insight into how Victorian and early-Edwardian women overcame gendered boundaries to participate in debates about British idealism

  • Takes an interdisciplinary approach to examine Mrs Humphry Ward's contribution to British society


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xv
  2. Helen Loader
    Pages 1-16
  3. Religion

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 17-17
    2. Helen Loader
      Pages 19-37
  4. Society

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 101-101
    2. Helen Loader
      Pages 103-118
    3. Helen Loader
      Pages 131-150
  5. Politics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 169-169
    2. Helen Loader
      Pages 201-216
    3. Helen Loader
      Pages 217-231
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 233-281

About this book


This book examines Mary Ward’s distinctive insight into late-Victorian and Edwardian society as a famous writer and reformer, who was inspired by the philosopher and British idealist, Thomas Hill Green. As a talented woman who had studied among Oxford University intellectuals in the 1870s, and the granddaughter of Dr Arnold of Rugby, Mrs Humphry Ward (as she was best known) was in a unique position to participate in the debates, issues and events that shaped her generation; religious doubt and Christianity, educational reforms, socialism, women’s suffrage and the First World War. Helen Loader examines a range of biographical sources, alongside Mary Ward’s writings and social reform activities, to demonstrate how she expressed and engaged with Greenian idealism, both in theory and practice, and made a significant contribution to British Society.


women's education Victorian social reform moral philosophy women's history Thomas Hill Green

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for History of Women’s EducationUniversity of WinchesterWinchesterUK

About the authors

Helen Loader is a member of the Centre for the History of Women’s Education, based in the University of Winchester, UK.

Bibliographic information


“This very welcome scholarly, yet highly readable, biography brings cohesion to Mary Ward's prolific writings and actions by exploring them as being underpinned by the idealist philosophy of Thomas Hill Green. It is a must for all those interested in the history of women in education, religion, philosophy, social work and politics.” (Ruth Watts, Emeritus Professor of History of Education, University of Birmingham, UK)

“Mary Ward was a profoundly important maverick in the late-Victorian and Edwardian struggles for women’s suffrage. This book does a great deal to return Ward to her correct place in our current understanding of those crucial debates. It is particularly welcome that this book explores Ward’s place within the British idealist and New Liberal movements, through its exploration of Ward’s neglected debts to the Advanced Liberal Thomas Hill Green.” (Colin Tyler, Director of the Centre for Idealism and the New Liberalism, Hull University, UK)