Josephine Butler was born on 13 April 1828 in Northumberland.Her father John Grey was a strong advocate of social reform and a campaigner against the slave trade. His cousin was Earl Grey, British prime minister between 1830 and 1834.
In 1869, Butler began her campaign against the Contagious Diseases Acts, touring the country making speeches condemning the acts.
Butler also took a great interest in women’s education. She pressured the authorities at Cambridge University into providing further education courses for women, which eventually led to the foundation of the all-women college at Newnham. She was appointed president to the North of England Council for the Higher Education of Women in 1867.
Butler’s writing – promoting social reform for women as well as education and equality – was widely distributed. Her most famous publication ‘Personal Reminiscences of a Great Crusade’ was written in 1896.