Katharine Furse Collection

Scope and Content

Much of the Collection relates to the founding and administration of the WRNS and the VAD's operation, as well as the treatment of prisoners of war during the Great War. Dame Katharine's family correspondence is also included, as are the papers of her husband, Charles Wellington Furse. Also included are Dame Katharine's poetry and prose, particularly material relating to Hearts and Pomegranates and her correspondence with Dame Rachel Crowdy and Virginia Woolf.

Administrative / Biographical History

Katharine Furse was born Katharine Symonds, daughter of John Addington Symonds and Catherine North, on 23 November 1875. In 1900, she married Charles Wellington Furse and they had two sons. She was Commandant-in-Chief of the Voluntary Aid Detachment during the beginning of the Great War (1914-1918). She served in France before returning to England and setting up the VAD Department within the Red Cross. In 1917, she resigned from her VAD work and founded the Womens' Royal Naval Service, which she served as founder of until 1919. She was also Director of the World Bureau of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (1928-1938) and published two works, Ski-Running and Hearts and Pomegranates. She died on 25 November 1952.

Access Information

Accessible to all bona fide readers.

Acquisition Information

The Furse collection was given to the University of Bristol Information Services - Special Collections by the family of Dame Katharine Furse, and further deposits were made by Dame Janet Vaughan and the Furse family.

Other Finding Aids

Typescript catalogue available in Special Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to copy must be obtained from University of Bristol Information Services - Special Collections staff.