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Margaret Bondfield (Re) Discovered by Dr. Paula Bartley

In our latest post, Dr. Paula Bartley reflects on some of the archival challenges of studying women’s history in her latest excellent book, Labour Women In Power: Cabinet Ministers in the Twentieth Century.

One of the many challenges facing  historians of women is lack of source material. So much of the evidence of women’s lives, including those of famous women, has simply disappeared. In 1929, ninety years ago, Margaret Bondfield became the first ever female Cabinet Minister. Yet, little has been written about this ground-breaking individual. One reason is that her archive simply vanished. Ross Davies, a “Times” journalist …

Celebrate the Archives in Women’s History Month by Dr. Janis Lomas

In this post, Dr. Janis Lomas tells us about her role in ensuring that the papers of The War Widows’ Association were preserved.

When I began a PhD over 30 years ago one of the organisations  I contacted was The War Widows’  Association and asked if they’d put out an appeal in their newsletter for any war widows who were prepared to fill in a questionnaire and perhaps be willing to be interviewed by me at a later date. I compiled a very basic, rather naive questionnaire and eventually received 62 replies. Around the same time I met one of …

Serendipity in the Archives – Finding something when least expected!

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In the first winter of the First World War – in 1914 – a number of women from North West England signed the Open Letter to the Women of Austria and Germany in a gesture of sisterhood and solidarity. The letter was instigated by Emily Hobhouse, a Quaker activist who had highlighted the plight of Boers in the South African concentration camps during the Boer War, and she used her contacts across the suffrage, pacifist and socialist networks to get support for the letter. The letter appeared in the radical press in early January 1915. Over 100 women signed it …

IFC – Isabella Forsyth Christie – Later Bews

 

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Isabella Forsyth Christie was a schoolteacher. As far as I know she didn’t do much other than teach. She most certainly isn’t famous, she wasn’t even particularly well known in her day, apart perhaps, amongst the communities where she taught. She was a primary teacher in late nineteenth, early twentieth century Scotland where the curriculum was limited to not much more than good handwriting, bible studies, arithmetic and sewing. It was only because of the sewing that I know anything about her. I was visiting Kinloch Rannoch school in Highland Perthshire with storyteller Claire Hewitt, where we were discussing …

Black & Asian women’s history: enslaved women on ships

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Black and Asian women’s history, as we know, has been very wrongly neglected. For over 20 years until 2011 it was being usefully retrieved – and presented in short, accessible pieces – by publications such as the Black and Asian Studies Association Newsletter. But I’ve just discovered this no longer exists. (For update see  http://www.history.org.uk/resources/general_news_1566.html).

Surely this WHN blog can be one of the e-places where the history of Black and Asian women is still, and increasingly, given the centrality it deserves.

 

Black women on slave ships

Women’s maritime historiography shows us several areas we can explore, …