Carpenter, Mary an English philanthropist, was born Aug. 18, 1807, at Bristol. At a very early age she took an active part in that social movement which had for its object the amelioration of the condition of the lower classes, the reorganization of prisons, and caring, for homeless children. To this end she originated the system of reformatory schools and such institutions as had her cherished object in view, and by word and deed she interested the community at large. She took an active part in the annual meetings of the "British Association for the Promotion of Social Science," and even undertook a voyage to India for philanthropic purposes in 1866-67, the results of which she published in Suggestions on Prison Discipline and Female Education in India (1867); and Six Months in India (1868, 2 vols.).
For a further advance of prison reform and female education, she visited India three times between 1868 and 1876. The results of her last journey she communicated to lord Salisbury, secretary for India, who brought them in an official form before Parliament. Miss Carpenter died at Bristol, June 14, 1877. She wrote Morning and Evening Meditations for Every Day in the Year (1842): Reformatory Schools for Children (1851): —Juvenile Delinquents, their Condition and Treatment (1853): — Our Convicts (1864, 2 vols.). See Brockhaus, Conversations-Lexikon (13th ed. 1882), s.v.; Carpenter, The Life and Work of Mary Carpenter (Lond. 1879, 1881). (B. P.)