Women’s Library Suffrage Collection online

A unique collection relating to British women’s fight for the vote 100 years ago has been revealed online today through the Visual Arts Data Service (VADS).

The digitised material in the Women’s Library Suffrage Collection represents a selection of the vast collections housed at the Women’s Library at London Metropolitan University, and includes posters, photographs, postcards, badges, and other memorabilia relating to the British suffrage movement.

Particularly remarkable and moving items from the online collection include a photograph of a crowd attacking suffragettes, and the purse that was held by Emily Wilding Davison at the Epsom Derby in 1913, when she stepped in front of the horse of King George V, which resulted in her death four days later.

The Women’s Library is the oldest and largest collection of women’s history in the UK and was founded in 1926 as the Library of the London Society for Women’s Service, a non-militant organisation led by leading suffragist, Millicent Fawcett. It is now held by the London Metropolitan University and is an internationally acclaimed specialist library, archive, and museum with collections that have broadened since its inception to include a wide range of subjects which focus on the lives of women in Britain. The collection now consists of 60,000 books and pamphlets, 3500 periodical titles, over 450 archives, and 5000 museum objects.

The collection of valuable documents, from the Women’s Library and the Parliamentary Archives, which tell the story of the women’s suffrage movement has also recently been selected as one of twenty collections to represent the outstanding heritage of the United Kingdom on the UNESCO UK Memory of the World Register.

The online selection provides a taster of these extensive collections, and adds to the national repository of over 120,000 digitised images available through VADS from a range of collections across the UK. In particular, this latest addition complements the existing online collection of Women’s Library Suffrage Banners, which includes almost 250 banners and associated artworks which have been made available online for free use in education and research.

14. June 2011 by jane furness
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