New women's suffrage research collection

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

During this Archives Awareness Week, Special Collections & Archives is delighted to announce the recent acquisition of materials related to the women's suffrage movement in the United Kingdom.

The Irene Hancock Fonds contains almost 50 items that paint a picture of the suffragist movement in the early 20th Century, and the women deeply involved in that cause. A highlight of the collection is correspondence with notable women in the movement, including Eleanor Rathbone and Ray Strachey.

Irene Hancock herself was involved in politics throughout her life. Highly educated, she was General Secretary for the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship in the 1920s, travelled widely, and was private secretary to Stanley Baldwin who went on the serve as Prime Minister.

The purchase of the collection from Blackwell Rare Books was enabled by a strategic collections support fund, a one-time contribution by the Office of the Provost to further the University’s strategic focus on initiatives such as HeForShe. Beginning with a donation from the National Council of Women of Canada in the 1960s, University of Waterloo’s Special Collections & Archives now has an extensive collection of archives, books and periodicals that support research in women’s, gender and family studies.

The collection also contains materials that illustrate the tensions between the moderate suffragists and the more radical - and sometimes violent - suffragettes.

There are pamphlets and writings that detail the violence perpetrated against the activists, such as force-feeding, and materials relating to the deaths of Dame Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Emily Davidson - who was killed by a King’s horse in an attempt to draw attention to her cause.

A personal experince of torture

A personal experience of torture., [ca. 1914]. Irene Hancock fonds. Special Collections & Archives.


All archival materials within Special Collections & Archives are available for use by students, faculty, and staff, visiting scholars, and by the general public. Browse the collections and follow @uwlibrary on Instagram and Facebook to learn more about Special Collections & Archives.

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