She was the youngest daughter of the Rev. Ferdinand Faithfull, and was born at Headley Rectory, Surrey. She took a great interest in the conditions of working-women. With the object of extending their sphere of labour, which was then very limited, in 1860 she set up in London a printing establishment for women, called The Victoria Press. From 1860 until 1866, Victoria Press published the feminist English Woman's Journal. Both Faithfull and her Victoria Press soon obtained a reputation for its excellent work, and Faithfull was shortly afterwards appointed printer and publisher in ordinary to Queen Victoria.
In 1863 she began the publication of a monthly organ, The Victoria Magazine, in which for eighteen years she continuously and earnestly advocated the claims of women to remunerative employment. In 1868 she published a novel, Change upon Change. She also appeared as a lecturer, and, with the object of furthering the interests of women, lectured widely and successfully both in England and the United States, which latter she visited in 1872 and 1882.
She was a member of the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women. She considered compositor's work (a comparatively lucrative trade of the time) to be a possible mode of employment for women to pursue. This upset the London Printer's Union, which was male-dominated and claimed that women lacked the intelligence and physical skill to be compositors.
Of her nephews, one was the actor Rutland Barrington and another the Indologist John Faithfull Fleet, ICS. Amongst her friends she counted Richard Peacock, one of the founders of the Beyer Peacock Locomotive Company, to whom she dedicated the Edinburgh edition of her book Three Visits To America with the words to my "Friend Richard Peacock Esq of Gorton Hall" in 1882. She was also the witness to the marriage of Peacock's daughter Jane Peacock to William Taylor Birchenough, the son of John Birchenough another manufacturer cited in Three Visits To America for his treatment of women employees in his silk mill in Macclesfield, at Brookfield Unitarian Church which Richard Peacock built in Gorton.
- Chisholm 1911.
- *Barrington, Rutland (1908). Rutland Barrington: A Record of 35 Years' Experience on the English Stage. London: G. Richards., p. 15, accessed 15 July 2010
- Donoghue, Emma. "The Sealed Letter: Author's Note". Picador. Picador. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Faithfull, Emily". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
- James S. Stone, Emily Faithfull: Victorian Champion of Women's Rights. Toronto: P.D. Meany, 1994
- Emily Faithfull, Three Visits to America. Edinburgh, 1884
|Wikisource has original works written by or about:
- Felicity Hunt, ‘Faithfull, Emily (1835–1895)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Sept 2004; online edn, Oct 2005, accessed 11 Jan 2008
- Works by or about Emily Faithfull in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- Emily Faithfull biography & selected writings at gerald-massey.org.uk