Personal Papers of Margaret Diggle

Scope and Content

Copies of Margaret Diggle's letters home from Girton 1923-26 (fourteen letters). The subject matter includes Quiller Couch's lectures (on Dorothy Wordsworth etc) and tutorials with Q., and coaching from F R Leavis (whom she describes), as well as other lectures (mainly in the English Faculty) from G K Chesterton (and his altercation with G G Coulton), Bertrand Russell (on China), and Middleton Murray (Clark lectures). In addition there are descriptions of life at Girton - her room, the Fire Brigade Dance and other dances, a controversy over Freshers Rag, the rule about men in Girton grounds, Tripos Tea, the impact of the General Strike, and, in 1924, the change of status when College became self governing (in this letter is detail of Bertha Phillpotts' explanation of the reasons behind the University's opposition to the admission of women). MD writes of being permanently short of money, the problems of choosing a career, and her student contributions to 'The Gownsman' (including examples).

With the letters are MD's explanatory notes to them, as well as letters to the Archivist 1992-99 about the gift, and some later reminiscences of her time at Girton. There is also a copy of her poems, 'The Telescope of Years' circa 1990.

Administrative / Biographical History

Margaret Diggle was born in Lincolnshire and educated at Willand Hall School, Spalding, and The College, Harrogate. She came up to Girton in 1923 as a Henry Tomkinson Scholar to read English (she was awarded the Charity Reeves Prize for her first in the Tripos), switching to History for her final year in 1925. At College, MD recalls being conscientious about work, making friends with ease, and being permanently short of money. She continued at Girton for a further two years as a Turle Scholar, obtaining her MLitt in 1928. She went straight into teaching, but returned to Cambridge 1930-31 to obtain a certificate in education at the Cambridge Training College for Women. Her next teaching post was at the Duchess School, Alnwick, where she remained for three years before taking up a post at Gloucester Training College of Domestic Science as a lecturer in English, later English and Education. After ten years at Gloucester, she spent two years as an education lecturer at Stockwell College, Bromley before setting of for the United States for three years to take posts as a lecturer, first at Wellesley College, then at Ohio State University, and finally at the University of Oregon. On her return to post-war Britain, she found it difficult to get employment but became a tutor at Bilston College of Further Education, before being appointed as lecturer at Garnett College in 1954. She remained there until her retirement in 1970. After retirement, MD moved from London to a Sussex village, where she cared for an older sister, led a University of the Third Age poetry group, and also published a volume of her own poems.

Conditions Governing Access

Please cite as Girton College Archive, Cambridge, Personal Papers of Margaret Diggle, GCPP Diggle

Acquisition Information

Given to the archive by Margaret Diggle in 1992.

Other Finding Aids

As at Sep 2008 an online catalogue was available at

Archivist's Note

Collection Description taken from JANUS in Sep 2008 as part of Genesis 2008 Project

Related Material

Margaret Diggle contributed an interview to the College Oral History Project (at GCOH 2/3/14) and a questionnaire and an interview to the University and Life Experience Project (at GCOH 3).

Location of Originals

The originals of the letters are with Margaret Diggle.