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To Mr. Theodore Stanton, the editor of “The Woman Question in Europe," I hasten to acknowledge my indebtedness. After reading that interesting book it occurred to me that a volume on the work of women in America could be made equally valuable and interesting.
In the spring of 1888, therefore, I began to collect the necessary material. Naturally it was not possible, nor did it seem desirable, to follow the exact lines of Mr. Stanton's work. In his book, each chapter is devoted to a different country, and the woman question therein is treated by the author of the chapter in all of its aspects.* It seemed best, on the contrary, to divide the American history as nearly as possible into as many chapters as there are phases of woman's work. The task of selecting as collaborators eighteen women, where so many brilliant women abound, was a very difficult one ; I need say nothing in defense or explanation of my choice, however, but am satisfied to let the work done speak for itself.
But before the task of selecting the contributors came that of dividing the whole great field of woman's work. Here I can only bow my head before the flood of criticism that is bound to bear down upon me. I suppose it is inevitable that to many it will seem that undue importance has been accorded to one subject, and too little to another. I can but plead that in no case have I allowed myself to be influenced by prejudice, but only by the best judgment I was capable of bringing to bear. On mentioning this book to a well-known editor and poet (a man), I was gravely asked why I had omitted a chapter on “ Woman in Marriage," as it would make a very readable and certainly a very prolific subject. My answer was that so far as I knew women had never been denied that privilege, and so it could have no legitimate place in my book. In that
* With the exception of the chapter on England, which is divided into three