Women's Suffrage Collection

About the Women's Suffrage Collection

This is a selection of material from The Women’s Library collection. This collection grew out of the London Society for Women’s Suffrage which was founded in 1867. It started its formal life as a library in 1926 to preserve the history of suffrage but also to be a resource to women who were hoping to enter the professions.

Collection highlights

The collection is to be put online in three separate tranches. Here are some highlights of the first tranche:

Anti-Suffrage Review This was published between 1908 and 1918 by the Women’s National Anti-Suffrage League.

The Suffragette This was published from 1912 to 1915, after the split with the Pethick-Lawrences, and became the newspaper of the Women’s Social and Political Union.

The Common Cause This was the newspaper of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies published from 1909 until 1920. Helen Swanwick was its first editor.

Votes for Women Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence and her husband, Frederick, co-funded and co-edited this newspaper for the Women’s Social and Political Union. It was published between 1907 and 1918 and printed at St Clement’s Press.

Britannia This was published between 1915 and 1918 and edited by Christabel and Emmeline Pankhurst, Flora Drummond and Annie Kenney. It was the official newspaper of the Women’s Social and Political Union and then the Women’s Party.

The Vote This was the newspaper of the Women’s Freedom League and its first editor was Charlotte Despard. It was published by Minerva Press from 1909 to 1933.

What's in the collection?

This collection contains suffrage newspapers, journals, pamphlets, leaflets and annual reports of different suffrage groups covering the women’s suffrage campaign from the late 19th century to 1928 when women were granted equal voting rights with men. You will be able to read about the campaign from the suffrage pamphlet collection of Ruth Cavendish Bentinck, suffragist and socialist, and from the suffrage newspapers of the late 19th century, such as Women’s Suffrage Journal and Shafts.

There are also the main suffrage newspapers of the 20th century, Votes for Women, The Common Cause, and The Vote, and less well-known newspapers, such as the one for the Church League for Women’s Suffrage. These newspapers provide much more than just articles on suffrage activity at home and abroad, but also cover contemporary feminist issues.