Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer


Vol. 19 (2005 Fall)

Nora Barlow - A Modern Cambridge Victorian And 'The Many Lives of Modern Woman'

  • Louis M. Smith
June 19, 2017


The audience and thesis of a book carry multiple implications for what will follow in the discussion. In reading The many lives of modern woman (Gruenberg and Krech, 1952), I found the authors speaking to a number of issues about which I was concerned. In particular they seemed to offer a kind of subtext to the last chapter of the biography I am writing, Nora Barlow and the Darwin legacy (Smith, In process). If that works out, it is a major discovery or accomplishment. Further, when colleagues Sharon Lee and Kelly McKerrow sent a call for papers on women, leadership, and social justice, I thought the Gruenberg and Krech book spoke not only to the Barlow life but also to the Lee and McKerrow request. My intension and task is the integration of a review of a classic book, and a view and commentary of the life of Nora Barlow, a privileged 19th Century woman. She was well to do and part of the intellectual aristocracy of England. A part of her life concerned the issues of community leadership and for her, at a very personal level, attempts at the resolution of the problems of equality and social justice. Finally in this essay review I present, and try to integrate, a series of more autobiographical comments of the interrelationships between the book and my, and my wife's, personal lives. My hope would be that in accomplishing this complex task I would have a better grasp of several important issues in social science and more personally, how I want to end the biography of Nora Barlow.