Records of Wildcat Cards

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of greetings cards, postcards and posters produced by Wildcat Cards; a selection of cards produced by women; slides, negatives, mock ups and proofs, photographs and some original artwork; advertisements and press releases, catalogues, order forms, price lists, artists briefs and press cuttings; correspondence, administrative and financial papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

Wildcat Cards (1988-1994) was founded in Sep 1988 by the Sheffield-based cartoonist and graphic designer Fi Frances in order to make modern women's art more accessible to the public through the medium of high quality cards produced by women artists to promote images and messages by women for women. It produced greetings cards, postcards and posters designed by women artists and actively sought input from women in a wide range of different life situations (from different classes, ethnic backgrounds, sexualities, abilities, ages and educational and political backgrounds). Some designs were produced as support cards for women's organisations and campaigns. Fi Frances once said 'Paintings depict an aspect of women's experience not normally seen in our world of misleading gloss.' In 1989, the Wildcat Cards Collective was formed, initially in an advisory capacity but with a view to establishing the business collectively in the long term. In 1990, Wildcat Cards was an established collective of four women, namely, Fi Frances, Maya Chowdhry, Mal Finch and Judith Dixon. The Collective increased to seven members by 1991 to include Fi Frances, Maya Chowdhry, Mal Finch, Rose Tanner, Sarah Broughton, Jacquie Burgess and Charlotte [?]. Wildcat Cards remained based in Sheffield and the majority of its business was through mail order. Although the Collective was dissolved in 1992, the business continued to operate until 1994 during which two attempts were made to sell the Collective to women. Fi Frances died in Nov 2001. [Note: a 'Wildcat Card' company was established in 2002 based in Berkshire; this had no link to the feminist card company]

Fi Frances (1940-2001) was born in 1940 to a family of drawing room watercolourists and schoolroom calligraphers. She was a graphic designer and cartoonist living in Sheffield, and worked as a graphic technician at Sheffield City Polytechnic and Sheffield Women's Printing Coop. In 1984 she became self employed. Fi and Caroline Irving formed Hoodwink to promote their skills as women cartoonist, and in 1987 came together as a group with two other women cartoonist, Christine Smith and Debjani Chatterjee to form Graphic Equalizers. In Sep 1988, Fi started the Wildcat Cards project to relate her skills in graphics and cartooning to the politics of feminist and other radical campaigns she was involved in. She operated Wildcat Cards as a Collective until 1992, but the business continued operating until 1994. She became involved with creating an arts policy with the Arts Council and Age Concern on which she wrote an article entitled, Increasing Visibility in the summer of 1999 for the Foundation of Community Dance. Fi Frances died in Nov 2001.

Arrangement

The archive has been arranged into five series based on the operational functions of the Collective. Each series is then organised chronologically to maintain the filing structure of the Collective. The series are:

A - Card Designs (1988 - 1994)

B - Production Material (1988 - 1994)

C - Promotions (1987 - 1994)

D - Administration (1988 - 1994)

E - Financial papers (1990 - 1992)

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

These records were kept by Fi Frances until her death in Nov 2001 and transferred to The Women's Library in Apr 2002 by the executor of her will.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Custodial History

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds the papers of Angela Martin, one of the women who contributed designs to Wildcat Cards (see 7ANG).

Corporate Names