Records of the St Joan's International Alliance (German Section)

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The archive consists of chronological files containing: correspondence, reports of German section meetings, circulars and papers of annual council meetings of the St Joan's International Alliance including German Section reports to the Council and notes from Mary Dittrich concerning the deposit of the papers.

Administrative / Biographical History

St Joan's Social & Political Alliance (1923-1954) was created in 1923, when the Catholic Women's Suffrage Society (1911-1923) changed its name as the society refocused its aims on a wider scale to consider social issues affecting women. From this time on, its international work expanded, from becoming a founder member of the liaison committee of international female organisations in 1924 to the presentation of a report to the League of Nations on the subject of female status in African and Asian states in 1937. This international work continued after the Second World War. Its areas of interest now included the slave trade, women's education and professional development, employment, divorce, prostitution and marital abuse, advising the United Nations on these matters and becoming recognised as an official consultative body by the UN, UNESCO and the World Labour Organisation since 1952. St Joan's Social & Political Alliance became known as the Great Britain & Northern Ireland Section of the St Joan's International Alliance in 1954.

The German section of St Joan's International Alliance was established around 1950 and remained small throughout its existence, with only 25-50 members throughout West Germany at any time. However, it had considerable influence, especially in the 1960s under the presidency of Dr Luise Bardenhewer. Mary Dittrich was secretary from 1974 and the section was dissolved in 1980 on her resignation. Along with the international group, it was active in efforts to support the introduction of women priests after the Vatican Council of 1961, as well as being concerned with the general issues of the status of women both inside and outside the Catholic Church.

Prominent individuals: -

Secretaries: Anne Branksiepe 1952-1957; Dr Luise Bardenhewer 1958-1971; Iima Reissner 1972-c.1974; Mary Dittrich 1974-1981 (closure).

Chair: Dr Margarethe von Miller from 1966; Dr Maria Schulter-Hermkes - date unknown; Professor Ursula Kemp. Since 1991 Head of Theology/ Religious studies at Bristol University.

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

Deposited by Mary Dittrich (last Honorary Secretary) on behalf of the German Section in 1988. Some additional papers were deposited in 1991 and incorporated into existing files.

Other Finding Aids

Fawcett Library Catalogue

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds the Records of St Joan's International Alliance (2SJA). Records are also held by Notre Dame University, United States of America under the reference CMBL 3/11-13.

Geographical Names