Papers of Charlotte Mary Stott

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of:

- personal papers

- manuscripts and research papers

- campaign papers

- information papers

- papers relating to other organisations

- papers relating to the Women's Liberation Movement

- objects

- audio visual materials

- printed material

Administrative / Biographical History

Charlotte Mary Stott (1907-2002), known as Mary, was born in Leicester. She was the only daughter of two journalists, Robert and Amalie Waddington (née Bates), and had two older brothers. Her uncle, Henry Bates, was a local journalist. For nearly 50 years she worked in newspapers. Mary was interested in politics when she accompanied her mother to meetings of local women Liberals during the First World War. Her first memory was of being driven around with a green ribbon in her hat, campaigning in the 1911 general election. After attending Wyggeston Leicester grammar school Mary worked as a temporary copyholder at the Leicester Mail, and then at the age of 19 she was appointed the women's editor. She was unable to join either the Typographical Association or the Correctors of the Press Association because neither accepted women members. In 1931 she moved to the Co-operative Press in Manchester, where she edited the two pages of the weekly Co-op News devoted mainly to reports of the women's co-operative guild, and children's publications. In 1945 she accepted John Beavan's offer of a sub-editing job on the Manchester Evening News. In 1950 she was sacked in order to protect the male succession to the post of chief sub-editor. She spent the next seven years mainly in 'domesticity'. In 1937, Mary married Ken Stott, a journalist at the News Chronicle, always known to her simply as 'K'. They lived in Heaton Moor, Cheshire until he died in 1967, at the age of 56. They had one daughter, a journalist named Catherine. Stott later moved to a flat in Blackheath, south London. In 1957 the then Guardian's editor, Alastair Hetherington, asked Mary to edit the paper's women's page, and she became the women's page editor of the 'Guardian' until 1972. Mary had a keen interest in equal rights for women, but also other forms of discrimination, whether through poverty, unemployment or disability. She was particularly keen on women's financial independence. The Mainly For Women title became, in 1969, Woman's Guardian, which ran until 1973. After a two-year change of tack as Guardian Miscellany, Guardian Women re-emerged, with Stott still a contributor. Stott encouraged women - both professional and non-professional writers - to write articles that were published in her pages, often receiving over 50 unsolicited manuscripts per week. She was a founder member in 1970 of the pressure group Women in Media and last president of the Women's Press Club in 1970. She also established the National Association for Widows, of which she was president from 1993 to 1995. She chaired the Fawcett Society from 1980-1982. Her autobiography, 'Forgetting's No Excuse', was published in 1973 and it focused on her experience of widowhood. Her second volume of memoirs, 'Before I Go' (1985), contained reflections on old age. Stott's other books include: 'Organisation Woman: The Story of the National Union of Townswomen's Guilds' (1978), 'Ageing for Beginners' (1981), 'Women Talking: An Anthology From the Guardian Women's Pages 1922-1953 and 1957-1971' (1987). She was also interested in classical music and in painting. She received several honours - an honorary fellowship from Manchester Polytechnic in 1972, an honorary MA from the Open University in 1991, and an honorary doctorate from De Montfort University, Leicester, in 1996. She won the Granada Award for the liveliest daily interest page in journalism in 1971 and was awarded the OBE for services to journalism in 1975.

Arrangement

The archive has been arranged into 9 groups:

7CMS/01 Personal papers

7CMS/02 Manuscripts and research papers

7CMS/03 Campaign papers

7CMS/04 Information papers

7CMS/05 Papers relating to other organisations

7CMS/06 Papers relating to the Women's Liberation Movement

7CMS/07 Objects

7CMS/08 Audio visual materials

7CMS/09 Printed material

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Two files are closed in accordance with the Data Protection Act. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Acquisition Information

Donated to the library by Mary Stott in 1986 and 1996. Acc 1996/09 came to the Library with 6WIM and 7HEF

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds: Records of the Women's Press Club (5WPC)(Stott was the last president of the Women's Press Club in 1970); Women in Media Group (6WIM) (Stott was a prominent member); Papers of Sylvia Hayman (7HAY ) contains correspondence between Mary Stott and Sylvia Hayman; Records of Action Opportunities collection donated by Mary Stott (5AOP). The Women's Library Printed Collections holds some publications by Mary Stott.

Geographical Names