Papers of Dorothea M Barton

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of historical and contemporary notes, statistics, press cuttings and correspondence on women's wages including specific classes of trades (1914-1919); printed reports on conditions of juvenile employment (1912), of the sub-committee of the Women's Industrial Council (1917), on women's employment in industry (c1910-1915); press cuttings, articles and reviews, on women and their welfare (1912-1917); papers, reports and typescript of articles on women's wages and conditions (1912-1919); notes on the employment of women in the Civil Service (1914-1916); questionnaire of the Fabian Society's Women's Group and other organisations (undated).

Administrative / Biographical History

Dorothea M Barton (fl.1890-1933) was born Dorothea Zimmern sometime towards the end of the nineteenth century. She became a member of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies in the early part of the twentieth century and was university educated, receiving at BA before 1912. By this time, she had also become active in the Women's Industrial Council, many of whose members were also active in the suffrage movement and which worked closely with the NUWSS and Women's Freedom League in the area of improved pay and conditions for female workers. Together they argued that when women achieved the vote, employers would be forced to improve their situation and that, on the other hand, enfranchisement itself was the best way of improving industrial conditions for women overall. With this in mind, The Women's Industrial Council set about acquiring information about industrial problems and Barton, as its Assistant Secretary, undertook an investigation of the wages and conditions of women in 1912. In Jun 1912 she gave a paper to a conference on the prevention of destitution which was later published as 'The Wages of Women in Industry' by the council. She published a series of articles on the issue through the Council, including, 'Clothing and the Textile Trades: Summary Tables' (with LW Papworth) and 'The Trade Boards: Table of Minimum Rates', in 1912. She also wrote 'The Civil Service and Women', for 'The Political Quarterly' in 1916, and 'Women's Wages' in 1912 for The Women's Co-operative Guild in 1912. She appears to have become interested in the Fabian Society around 1913, and her longstanding interest in the suffrage movement in America led her, in 1915, to become a member of the International Woman Suffrage Alliance. In 1915 she was also the Honorary Secretary of the Training School Committee of the Council. By 1914 she had become a Lady Inspector of the Board of trade and possibly a member of the Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries the following year. She appear to have married her husband WJ Barton, the headmaster at the College in Epsom, around 1915 or 1916, moving form London to the Headmasters' House there at this time. Her interest in the issues of women's equal pay and conditions appears to have subsisted after the war and she was asked to deliver a paper on women's wages to the Royal Statistical Society in 1919 while the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship published her article 'Equal pay for equal work' that same year. It is likely that Barton was the first person to deposit an archive with the Fawcett Library (now The Women's Library) on 15 Mar 1933, when she presented her 'notes on women's wages etc' to them.

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

Unknown. Deposited pre 1974 when it was first listed. [ Fawcett Library Accession Registers to be checked]

Other Finding Aids

Fawcett Library Catalogue.

Custodial History

Much of this material was accumulated for an article in the journal of the Royal Statistical Society Jul 1919.