This book focuses on early examples of women who may be said to have anticipated, in one way or another, modern professional and/or career-oriented women. The contributors to the book discuss women who may at least in some respect be seen as professionally ambitious, unlike the great majority of working women in the past. In order to improve their positions or to find better business opportunities, the women discussed in this book invested in developing their qualifications and professional skills, took economic or other kinds of risks, or moved to other countries. Socially, they range from elite women to women of middle-class and lower middle-class origin. In terms of theory, the book brings fresh insights into issues that have been long discussed in the field of women’s history and are also debated today. However, despite its focus on women, the book is conceptually not so much focused on gender as it is on profession, business, career, qualifications, skills, and work. By applying such concepts to analyzing women’s endeavours, the book aims at challenging the conventional ideas about them.