Papers of Nan Berger

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of papers relating to Berger's work as a journalist and political identity as a feminist and Communist. It includes copies of her manuscript and published articles, reports and photographs of her travels in China and South Africa in the 1960s, correspondence (including two letters from Simone de Beauvoir) and her unpublished autobiography.

Administrative / Biographical History

Nancie Elizabeth Berger (1914-1998) was a journalist and political activist. Born near Manchester to a prosperous family, she attended Lowther College in North Wales during the 1920s. In 1935 Berger moved to London, where she and her brother Peter became active members of the Communist Party. In 1940, she became a clerk at the Bank of England, where she promptly set up a staff committee for temporary clerks. After doing so, she found herself summarily dismissed from her post. Her subsequent career as a civil servant in the statistical office of the Ministry of Fuel and Power was considerably more successful. In 1948, she was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours' list of 1948 for her role in dealing with a major crisis in the nation's coal supplies. Later in life she was a freelance journalist, as well as editor of 'Hospitality', a hotel and catering management journal. Berger made politically-charged visits to the United States (1939) and China (1963), and in 1962 she joined anti-Apartheid campaigner Helen Joseph on a trip to make contact with banned women activists in South Africa. In the same year, Berger was co-author of the feminist book 'Woman - Fancy or Free?'. She also published a Penguin handbook on women's rights in 1973, books on children's rights and the importance of school meal provision. She was married to Roland Berger and had two daughters. She died on 16 Jul 1998.

Arrangement

Arranged into series according to the original order of the papers. Items have been arranged chronologically within files.

Conditions Governing Access

Gift

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 Vicki Berger, daughter of Nan Berger, May 2008.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue