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Dictionary of British Women Artists by Dr Sara Gray

For ‘throwback Thursday’, Dr. Sara Gray gives us a glimpse into her 2009 book, Dictionary of British Women Artists.

The history of women artists remains largely uncharted even today, but particularly the history of British women artists. When I started researching for a Ph.D. thesis in the 1990s, it was virtually impossible to find anything much about women in British art or the decorative arts, other than the occasional reference here and there in a history book. Not coincidentally, most of the art history books I checked were written by men!

When I began to research old journals and newspapers …

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 …