Millicent Fawcett giving her Hyde Park address 1913

Women's suffrage

"The first humble beginnings of an agitation..." Helen Taylor, 1866.

Gillian Murphy portrait image

Author

Gillian Murphy

Curator for Equality, Rights and Citizenship.

Background

Our collections contain primary source material relating to the campaign for women’s suffrage. The majority of this collection forms part of the Women’s Library, whose roots are founded in the suffrage movement. This collection includes personal papers of suffragists and suffragettes, records of suffrage organisations and the newspapers, journals and pamphlets published by these organisations. There are also badges, postcards, posters, banners and other 3D objects on this subject.

Millicent Garrett Fawcett and the early suffrage movement

Emily Wilding Davison portrait
Emily Wilding Davison, c.1905.

The Pankhursts and Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU)

Material relating to Emmeline Pankhurst and her daughters, Christabel and Sylvia, is dispersed throughout the collection. Papers relating to the WSPU can be found in the personal papers of suffragettes.

Pro-suffrage men's groups

  • Men’s League for Women’s Suffrage was founded in 1907 and supported the work of the WSPU and Women’s Freedom League. Records of other men’s suffrage societies are dispersed throughout the collection. 
An anti-suffrage movement badge
Badge from the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League 1908-1910.

Anti-suffrage societies

  • Women's National Anti-Suffrage League was founded in 1908 at a time when support for the women’s suffrage movement was rising again. Records of other anti-suffrage societies are dispersed throughout the collection.

Popular resources

A suffrage parade in the 1900s
A suffrage parade, c.1908.

How to search 

You can find more material on this topic using a person’s name, by organisation, by event eg 'Black Friday', or by keyword such as anti-suffrage, emancipation, franchise, suffrage, suffragette, suffragist, in these catalogues.

View lists of further resources covering:

How to access

Most of the material highlighted here is stored in closed access and must be consulted in The Women’s Library Reading Room. Find out how to book your place and order material on our access archives and special collections  page.

Further information 

If you need specific help with any of the collections mentioned here get in touch with our Curator for Equality, Rights and Citizenship, Gillian Murphy.