Leisure Life


a woman having intellectual or literary interests

In mid-18th century England a group of ladies decided to replace evenings of card playing and idle chatter with ‘conversation parties,’ inviting illustrious men of letters to discuss literary and intellectual topics with them. One regular guest was scholar- botanist Benjamin Stillingfleet. His hostesses willingly overlooked his cheap blue worsted stockings (a type disdained by the elite) in order to have the benefit of his lively conversation. Those who considered it inappropriate for women to aspire to learning derisively called the group the ‘Blue Stocking Society.’ The women who were the original bluestockings rose above the attempted put-down and adopted the epithet as a name for members of their society.

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