Pankhurst Papers

Scope and Content

The Pankhurst Papers is an archive relating to the political activist, writer, and artist Sylvia Pankhurst (1882-1960). It focuses on her life after 1935 and in particular on her activities on behalf of Abyssinia/Ethiopia. An archive relating to her earlier, pre-1935 life is held at the International Institute for Social History in Amsterdam.

The archive consists mostly of correspondence, with some administrative papers and miscellaneous material. It mainly relates to Sylvia Pankhurst and her activities, although there is also some family material. It has been arranged in the categories listed below, which reflect the thematic nature and provenance of the material.

Add MS 88925/1 United Kingdom politics and institutions

This section contains material, mostly correspondence, relating to British politicians, institutions, and organisations:

1. Letters written from prison by suffragettes

2. British politicians

  • special correspondences relating to individual politicians (correspondence containing 20 pages or more)
  • general correspondence relating to politicians (miscellaneous correspondence)
  • British political parties and organisations

3. British State, eg. the Monarchy, the Home Civil Service

4. State-related institutions

  • Church of England
  • British Broadcasting Corporation

5. Campaigning/civil-rights organisations

  • Abyssinia Association
  • International Ethiopian Council for Study and Report
  • League of Coloured Peoples

Add MS 88925/2 Africa

This section contains material relating to Africa, and in particular Abyssinia/Ethiopia. 'Abyssinia' was a name given to the Ethiopian empire. This included Ethiopia and various surroundings states/territories, such as Eritrea and Somalia. It existed from the late Middle Ages until the Marxist revolution in Ethiopia in 1974. In practice, the names Abyssinia and Ethiopia are both used in the archive.

The first sub-section contains material relating to Abyssinia/Ethiopia, including Emperor Haile Selassie I and the Ethiopian royal family. It includes material relating to the exile of the royal family during the Italian invasion period (1936-1941). It also contains material relating to the economy and administration of Ethiopia.

The later sub-sections contain material relating to other countries in Africa, including the United Kingdom's interests and involvement in Africa. There is often overlap between the material relating to different countries. For example, the Eritrea sub-section includes material relating to the debate about whether Eritrea should be united with Ethiopia or whether it should be independent. The sub-section relating to Somalia contains material relating to the pre-1960 period before its independence from Britain and Italy (during this period it was divided between British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland).

1. Abyssinia/Ethiopia

  • Emperor Haile Selassie I
  • Private Secretary to the Emperor
  • Ethiopian Royal Family
  • Government and economy of Ethiopia
  • Princess Tsahai Memorial Hospital
  • Italian invasion of Ethiopia (1936-1941)
  • Political prisoners of Menelik Palace (following the Marxist revolution in 1974)
  • Miscellaneous Ethiopian material

2. Eritrea and Ethiopian-Eritrean unity

3. Somalia

4. Miscellaneous Africa material

Add MS 88925/3 Miscellaneous states and international institutions

This sections contains material relating to states other than the United Kingdom and African countries, as well as material relating to the League of Nations and the United Nations:

1. Romania

2. United States of America

3. Miscellaneous states

  • China
  • France
  • Italy
  • Soviet Union
  • Spain

4. League of Nations and United Nations

Add MS 88925/4 Writings of Sylvia Pankhurst, etc.

  • Writings of Sylvia Pankhurst
  • Incomplete or unidentified writings, which are attributed to Sylvia Pankhurst
  • Notebooks
  • Research material and working papers
  • Writings by authors other than Sylvia Pankhurst

Add MS 88925/5 New Times and Ethiopia News

The New Times and Ethiopia News was the newspaper founded by Sylvia Pankhurst in support of Abyssinia/Ethiopia, which she edited from 1936-1956. This section includes

  • general correspondence,
  • material relating to Wasir Ali Baig, a correspondent for the New Times and Ethiopia News, and
  • correspondence relating to the New Times and Ethiopia News and miscellaneous material.

Add MS 88925/6 Newspapers and publications

This section contains correspondence with various newspapers and publications. It includes material relating to major or national newspapers such as the Manchester Guardian and The Times, as well as smaller or more specialised publications.

Add MS 88925/7 Special correspondence

This section contains 'special correspondences' (correspondences of 20 pages or more) relating to individuals not included in earlier sections.

Add MS 88925/8 Family material

This section contains material relating to the immediate family of Sylvia Pankhurst:

  • Sylvio Corio (1875-1954), partner of Sylvia Pankhurst
  • Richard Pankhurst (1927-), son of Sylvia Pankhurst
  • Rita Pankhurst, wife of Richard Pankhurst

Correspondence relating to both Richard and Rita Pankhurst has been included with the material relating to Richard Pankhurst.

Add MS 88925/9 General correspondence

Miscellaneous correspondence

Add MS 88925/10 Press cuttings and photographs

Add MS 88925/11 Miscellaneous material

Access Information


Not Public Record(s)

Acquisition Information

Presented by Professor Richard Pankhurst, son of Sylvia Pankhurst, Aug 2003


See Richard Pankhurst, Sylvia Pankhurst: Counsel for Ethiopia (Hollywood and London, 2003)