Papers of Betty Jerman relating to 'baby-snatching'

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 7BJE
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 A box & 6 Albums

Scope and Content

The archive consists of material collected by Betty Jerman for a planned book on baby-abduction by women (never published). Jerman became interested in the subject through the case of Pauline Jones (who abducted baby Denise Weller in 1971, and was sentenced to 3 years in Holloway prison) and wrote a series of articles about the case for The Guardian that led to a 'Free Pauline Jones' campaign.

The archive is mainly comprised of press cuttings from the national media about 'baby-snatching' cases, spanning 1971-2002. It also includes Jerman's book proposal outline, research notes, correspondence, typescripts and publications. It includes papers relating to the Pauline Jones' case, the Kilroy television programme 'Snatch', the support organisation The Portia Trust, and the campaigning organisation Radical Alternatives to Prison.

Administrative / Biographical History

Betty Jerman (fl.1950 - fl.1999) was a journalist and author. She was a fashion and interior design writer on The Guardian from 1950-1956. In 1960 she sparked the correspondence that would lead to the formation of the National Women's Register (NWR) by writing an article for the Manchester Guardian on how boredom affected young mothers' creativity and opportunities for making friends. When NWR was granted charitable status in 1980, Betty was appointed one of the three trustees - a position she held for nineteen years. In 1971 she wrote a series of articles for The Guardian on the case of Pauline Jones, who was sentenced to 3 years in Holloway prison for the abduction of baby Denise Weller. Jerman's articles prompted a 'Free Pauline Jones' campaign. Jerman continued to be interested in cases of 'baby-snatching', amassing many press cuttings on the subject from 1971-2002. She is the author of various publications, including 'The Lively-Minded Women', which charts the history of the first 20 years of the NWR, and 'Kids' Britain'.

Access Information


This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit. One item is closed (see 7BJE/1/1) under the Data Protection Act, but is available in anonymised form. The original item will be made available in Jan 2073.

Acquisition Information

The Women's Library Printed Collections transferred to Special Collections in 2007.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Custodial History

Collection held within The Women's Library Printed Collections. Transferred to Special Collections for cataloguing and re-packaging 2007.

Related Material

The Women's Library Printed Collections holds a video cassette of an episode of the Kilroy series about the abduction of Alex Griffiths, 2005 (Classmark as at Sep 2007: 364.1540924 ABD).

Also held within The Women's Library Special Collections are the Records of the National Women's Register (5NWR), of which Betty Jerman was one of the first trustees.

An interview with Betty Jerman, relating to work at The Guardian, 1950-1956 (ref: ECJ) is held at The Guardian Newsroom Archive.

Personal Names