Papers of Mary Ann Rawle

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of Mary Ann Rawle's working papers relating to the women's suffrage campaign and the Independent Labour Party. It includes correspondence, a prison diary describing her time in Holloway, an illuminated address and a badge awarded for bravery in prison, copy family certificates and photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mary Ann Rawle (1878-1964) was born in Lancashire in 1878 and from the age of ten worked in a cotton mill. In 1900 she married Francis Rawle, an iron turner, with whom she had two children. She became active in local industrial politics and was a member of her local branch of the Independent Labour Party at Ashton-Under-Lyne. Six years later she was a member of the Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) and was one of the group of 400 women textile workers who went as a deputation to the prime minister on 19 May 1906. During this event, she came into contact with Teresa Billington-Greig, Annie and Jessie Kenney and Christabel Pankhurst, and accompanied the group who was allowed into the Foreign Office on that occasion. In the autumn of that same year, she assisted Hannah Mitchell when she was appointed a part-time organiser for the WSPU in Oldham. In Mar 1907 she attended the second Women's Parliament (dressed in shawl and clogs) and was arrested in London and sentenced to two weeks in Holloway Prison. In 1907, however, she left the WSPU for the Women's Freedom League and became the secretary of its Ashton-Under-Lyne branch. She moved to Grantham in 1910 and presided at a branch meeting of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies there in 1913. She would later stand as a Labour candidate in the Grantham municipal elections and was chair of her branch of the Women's Co-operative Guild for 17 years. In 1945 she was chair of the Grantham branch of the Old Age Pensions Association. She died in 1964.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

Deposited by Mick Rawle (grandson of Mary Ann Rawle) in 2006 and Mr NR McNicol, on behalf of a solicitors firm in 1992.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Related Material

The Women's Library holds the records of a number of militant, WSPU members, including Emily Wilding Davison (7EWD) and Louisa Garrett Anderson (7LGA). The records of the Women's Social & Political Union are held at The Museum of London. The Women's Library Printed Collections also holds a number of publications by the Women's Social & Political Union .