markhamspankElisabeth Markham was a Victorian governess and educationalist who advocated corporal punishment.

Her aims were to encourage best practice in the training of governesses and the education of young women. She apparently advocated corporal punishment of young women over the age of 16 and unmarried ladies “up to a late age.” Her philosophy was to show that women were not frail creatures and that spanking, caning, birching and other “robust forms of punishment” were essential for discipline and the well-being of “females of all social conditions wishing to better themselves.”

She allegedly instigated the Markham project which seems to have been some sort of network of like-minded governesses and others who were trying to set-up some sort of academy to further their aims.

The blog A Voice in the Corner has dived into this story to find out whether all this is fact or fiction. Head over there and read about what they have found out.