This year, 2018, is the 100 year anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918. The Act which gave propertied women over the age of thirty, and all men over the age of twenty-one, the right to vote. Over the course of 2018 we aim to digitise several suffragette and women’s newspapers. These papers will allow us to explore the suffrage movement, and the social sphere of the women who campaigned for the right to vote.
To start our collection we have released The Suffragette. This title, which was renamed Britannia in October 1915, was edited by Christabel Pankhurst and began publication on Friday, 18 October 1912. The first issue boldly declared its reclamation of the pejorative term suffragette.
The Suffragette of which this is the first issue, is the Official Organ of the Women’s Social and Political Union, the militant organisation for obtaining Votes for Women. The name Suffragette, first applied to members of the W.S.P.U. by the Newspapers, has, by use and association, been purified of any opprobrium or distasteful significance it may have borne in the past. It is now a name of highest honour, and women in ever-increasing thousands bear it with pride; and until a better is invented it stands as no other word does for the independence, courage, public spirit, and, we may add, humour, which are the attributes of the really womanly. The Suffragettes are women who have profited by the freedom won for them by the pioneers of the movement. They are the advance-guard of the new womanhood. The Suffragette has come to stay! That is why we have called this paper by her name.
Learn more about this exciting addition to The Archive on its title page and read a sample issue for FREE.
More to come….
We are currently sourcing more titles from the holdings of the British Library. As we add new titles we will update this blog with details.
Throughout 2018 we will also use newspapers to tell the story of suffrage, we will post biographies of famed and forgotten suffragettes, tell the story of the men who supported the cause, and document the response of the movement to issues of warfare, labour and welfare. We will also examine the full spectrum of responses to the movement, from vilification to championing, as reported in the mainstream press.