Records of the Wives' Fellowship

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of:

* records of the central administration of the Wives' Fellowship (Central Committee Minutes and Executive Committee Minutes of Wives' Fellowship and Senior Wives' Fellowship)

* minutes of Annual General Meetings

* material relating to Conferences

* reports / minutes / letters relating to Ceylon Wives' Fellowship

* papers relating to other organisations (National Council of Women, charities supported by the Wives' Fellowship)

* memorabilia

* histories of the organisation and Wives' Fellowship Service books

* complete set of magazines in 6 bound volumes 1916-1989 (held in TWL Printed Collections as at May 2006)

Administrative / Biographical History

The Wives' Fellowship (1916-f.2008) is a Christian women's group founded in 1916 within the Church of England, but later was opened to members of all Christian denominations. It aims to bring together married women with a common interest in upholding Christian ideals in marriage, motherhood and community service. It functions as a network of local groups around the UK with a central administrative body run by volunteers. Membership has always been by invitation, with meetings held in members' homes. Annual Days (the yearly celebration of the founding of the Fellowship) and National Conferences are held in different locations around the UK. The group was originally called the Young Wives' Fellowship and aimed to provide companionship to young married women whose husbands were fighting overseas during the First World War. It was initially a sub-committee to the Mothers' Union, with strong links to the Girls' Diocesan Association. In 1921 it became independent under the title The Wives' Fellowship. It remained affiliated to the Mothers' Union until 1937. Most branches at that time were in the dioceses of the Church of England. During the 1920s groups were established in India and Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and, very briefly, in Cairo, Nairobi and Jakarta (Batavia). The Indian groups ceased after Indian independence and the Ceylon groups stopped in 1973. The central administrative body produces magazines, hosts events around the country, and organises the Annual General Meeting. It has always been active in charitable work. The main charities that have been supported are: the Josephine Butler house in Liverpool (funding the training of female social workers) 1921-1974; the St Michael and All Angels Fellowship, 1943-1976; the St Christopher's Hospice (for the terminally ill), 1975-onwards. It also had a 60-year affiliation with the National Council of Women. The Senior Wives' Fellowship was established in 1934 for members over the age of 40. The Wives' Fellowship and the Senior Wives' Fellowship merged on 11 Mar 2004. The organisation was still active in 2008.

Arrangement

Archive has been arranged into 10 series:

5WFE/01 - Wives' Fellowship Central Committee Minutes

5WFE/02 - Wives' Fellowship Executive Committee Minutes

5WFE/03 - Senior Wives' Fellowship Central Committee Minutes

5WFE/04 - Senior Wives' Fellowship Executive Committee minutes

5WFE/05 - Annual General Meetings

5WFE/06 - Conferences

5WFE/07 - Ceylon [Sri Lanka]

5WFE/08 - Papers relating to other organisations

5WFE/09 - Anniversaries and memorabilia

5WFE/10 - Publications and dissertation

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

Donated by Moira Edmunds, secretary of the Wives' Fellowship in 2005, on behalf of the organisation.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library catalogue

Custodial History

The papers have been held by subsequent secretaries of the Wives' Fellowship in their own homes.

Corporate Names