Feminism in its modern meanings attests to a movement for change in the social, economic and legal position of women. In the Romantic period, no such movement existed. There were, however, individual women whose voices, separately and together, suggest the existence of a commonality of feeling around the intellectual advancement of the female sex. This article examines writing by women on female education and sexual and social reform, focussing on the work of Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Hays, Mary Robinson, and Mary Lamb. It connects political writing and educational treatises to the novels and essays written by these women and it reflects on the shared concerns from which modern feminism emerged.