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Unveiling the anonymous philanthropist: charity in the nineteenth century

Flew, Sarah (2015) Unveiling the anonymous philanthropist: charity in the nineteenth century. Journal of Victorian Culture, 20 (1). pp. 20-33. ISSN 1355-5502

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Identification Number: 10.1080/13555502.2014.993686


This article examines anonymous contributions in nineteenth century charitable subscription lists in order to explore what the phenomenon of anonymity can illuminate about the Victorian culture of philanthropy. Anonymous giving has received little historical scrutiny. The article contrasts the public and private nature of philanthropy and considers why some individuals chose to conceal their identity when making charitable donations. It suggests that the use of anonymity is counter to the idea, prevalent in the historiography, that philanthropists used their wealth to gain public power and prestige. Instead, this article suggests that anonymous giving highlights the personal and private aspect of charitable giving that reflects both the philanthropist's relationship with God and their deeply felt connection with the charitable cause.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 Leeds Trinity University
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HS Societies secret benevolent etc
Date Deposited: 25 Feb 2015 15:00
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 03:19

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