Papers of Dr C J Bearman relating to his research on the Suffragette movement

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Research papers relating to the Suffragettes and the Suffragette movement. Includes mainly handwritten notes relating to newspaper articles, published articles and archival items. There are also index cards relating to specific newspaper articles and copies of three published articles by Dr Bearman entitled 'An Army Without Discipline? Suffragette Militancy and The Budget Crisis of 1909', 'An Examination of Suffragette Violence' and 'Confronting the Suffragette Mythology'.

Administrative / Biographical History

Christopher Bearman (published under the style C.J. Bearman) was born in Chelmsford, Essex in 1948. He boarded at Brentwood School, but left at 16 after a serious illness. However, he remained interested in studying and gaining knowledge for the rest of his life, particularly relating to English literature and Shakespeare, the ancient classics and the Bible. His main interest, however, was folk music, becoming a member of the Chelmsford Folk Club and several Morris dancing groups in Essex. In later life, he studied for his A Levels at night classes before reading English and History at Hull University. He graduated in 1994 with first-class honours. He completed his PhD entitled 'The English Folk Music Movement, 1898-1914' at Hull in 2002.

Despite his academic success, he never achieved permanent academic employment, instead undertaking several short-term research contracts. He also compiled entries for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography and at the time of his death in 2013 he was working on a new biography of Cecil Sharp, the folk-song collector, in whom Bearman had long been interested and defended against the criticisms of other academics in the field, although Bearman himself was not entirely uncritical of Sharp.

Another area of interest for Bearman, was the Suffragette movement, inspired by his initial interest in the folk dance promoter Mary Neal. Bearman's focus was on the militant aspects of the movement and he argued, although heavily criticised by his academic contemporaries, that the violence used by the suffragettes was planned, not spontaneous and that other historians had relied too heavily on the propaganda and mythology created by the Women's Social and Political Union's leadership in their accounts. In his view, these apparently uncritical works had become the accepted account of the Suffragette movement and this had to be questioned.

Conditions Governing Access

Access will be granted to any accredited reader

Custodial History

Deposited by Lewis W. Jones, Oct 2014

Related Material

Papers of Julia Varley [U DJV]

Note from Jessie Kenney Suffragette Movement [U DDSY2/1/33/68]

Newscuttings - 'Winifred Holtby Review of The Suffragette Movement' by Sylvia Pankhurst [L WH/1/1.13/06b]

Records of the Hull Folk Union [C DSHF - uncatalogued]