Papers of Philippa Strachey

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of papers relating to organisations and societies with which Philippa Strachey was involved as part of her activities promoting equal pay, employment and training for women. For some she was the representative of the London and National Society for Women's Service (later the Fawcett Society), while others represent her direct work for education (Cambridge University Women's Appointments Board) and employment (the Women's Service; for which is held notes and correspondence with various trade associations).

There is also a series of personal papers and ephemera. These appears to have been collected by Philippa and includes obituaries, notes on the history of the women's suffrage movement, order of service for Millicent Garrett Fawcett's memorial and a typescript of a play by George Bernard Shaw.

Administrative / Biographical History

Philippa Strachey (1872-1968), known as Pippa, was born in 1872 to Lady Jane Maria Strachey and Major Richard Strachey. She was brought up first in India, where her father was a leading figure in the administration, and then in London, where the family moved in 1879. Her mother was active in the movement for women's suffrage and both Philippa and her siblings were encouraged to contribute to this work. In 1906 she became a member of the executive committee of the Central Society for Women's Suffrage and the following year she was elected the secretary of its successor the London Society for Women's Suffrage. In 1906 she joined the London Society for Women's Suffrage, succeeding Edith Palliser as secretary the following year. It was also in 1907 that she joined her mother Lady Jane Maria Strachey in organising what became known as the 'Mud March' at the instigation of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and which went from Hyde Park to the Exeter Hall to demand the vote. During the First World War she was deeply involved in various war works, from being the secretary of the Women's Service Bureau for War Workers to participating as a member of the Committee for the London units of the Scottish Women's Hospital from 1914-1919. This war work began her lasting involvement with the issue of women's employment and she remained the secretary of the Women's Service Bureau after 1918 when it became concerned with helping women thrown out of jobs on the return of men from the Front. She remained there until its dissolution, which came in 1922, caused by a financial crisis in the parent organisation. However, subsequently Strachey helped to found a new group to fill the gap, becoming the secretary and then honorary secretary of the Women's Employment Federation. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, family problems took up much of her time as she nursed both her mother and her brother Lytton until their deaths. However, all through this time she remained active in the London Society for Women's Service and when it was renamed the Fawcett Society in 1951, she was asked to be its honorary secretary. It was that year that she was awarded the CBE for her work for women. She subsequently was made a governor of Bedford College. Increasing ill-health slowed the pace of her work and blindness finally forced her to enter a nursing home at the end of her life. She died in 1968.

Arrangement

Organisational papers are arranged in individual folders for each society or body. Personal papers, which formed part of Acc1987/2 and seem to relate to Philippa, have been kept in their original files and numbered sequentially. Part of Acc 1987/02 was removed to 7BSH in May 2007

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

Accession 1987/02 was deposited by Barbara Strachey Halpern in 1987. 1973/NoAccNo04 may also have been deposited by Barbara Strachey Halpern

Other Finding Aids

Women's Library Catalogue

Custodial History

Barbara Strachey Halpern inherited her mothers papers (Ray Strachey, now at 7BSH) and those of her mother's close friend, sister-in-law and fellow activist Philippa Strachey.

Accruals

7PHS/1, NoAccNo19 2.5 boxes are catalogued, papers dating 1911-1961. 7PHS/2, Acc 1987/02 1.5 A boxes are catalogued, papers dating 1916-c.1940.

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds papers related to Philippa Strachey's work, such as the Papers of the Fawcett Society and its predecessors (2LSW Philippa Strachey being active in the London Society for Women's Suffrage and the London Society for Women's Service); the papers of the Women's Employment Federation (reference: 6WEF) and those of the subsequent organisation Careers for Women (reference: 6CFW); and letters across the Autograph Letter collection (especially references: 9/01, 9/09,9/15, 9/18, 9/21 and 9/27); .

The Women's Library also holds Strachey family papers, such as the papers of Lady Jane Strachey (7JMS) and Joan Pernel Strachey (7JPS). Letters of the Strachey family also can be found in the Library's Autograph Letter Collection (9/20).

Personal papers of Philippa Strachey can be found in other collections: personal letters (1930-1950) are in the British Library Manuscript Collections (reference: Add MS 60631), family correspondence (c1870-1928) is held in the Oriental and India Office Collections of the same institution (reference: MSS Eur F 127), and her letters to Leonard Woolf (1941-62) are in Sussex University Library Special Collections (reference: SxMs 13/Pt III).