Papers of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson

Archive Collection
  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 7EGA
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 BRA 2203
  • Dates of Creation
      1871-1907
  • Language of Material
      English
  • Physical Description
      0.5 A box
  • Direct Link

Scope and Content

The archive consists of legal papers related to the marriage of Elizabeth Garrett and James Anderson in 1871: marriage settlement, notices to insurance companies, solicitors correspondence, estate duty form, stock certificates, trustees cash accounts, memorandum.

Administrative / Biographical History

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917), the daughter of Newson Garrett and Louise Dunnell, was born in Whitechapel, London in 1836, one of twelve children. From 1851 to 1853 she was educated in Blackheath but while visiting Northumberland in 1854, Elizabeth met Emily Davies who would remain a friend and supporter for the rest of her life. Five years later Garrett met Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to qualify as a doctor, influencing the former to enter the field of medicine. Attempts to enter several medical schools failed; instead Garrett became a nurse at Middlesex Hospital though her efforts to attend lectures for the male doctors failed. However, it came to light that the Society of Apothecaries did not specify that females were banned from taking their examinations and in 1865 Garrett sat and passed their examination before establishing a medical practice in London. That same year, she joined Emily Davies, Dorothea Beale and Francis Mary Buss to form the Kensington Society and in 1866 signed their petition for women's enfranchisement. In 1866 Garrett created a women's dispensary and four years later was appointed visiting physician to the East London Hospital where she met James Anderson, the man who was to become her husband in Feb 1871. Though she later graduated from the University of Paris, the British Medical Register refused to recognise her MD degree. Over the next few years she became the first woman elected to serve on a school board in England, the mother of three children, opened the women-run New Hospital for Women in London with Elizabeth Blackwell and helped Sophia Jex-Blake to establish the London Medical School for Women to which Garrett Anderson was elected Dean of the London School of in 1884. Though she was never on the executives of any of the major suffrage societies, she did chair meetings and was a member first of the Central Committee of the National Society for Women's Suffrage and then later of the London Society for Women's Suffrage. On her retirement she moved to Aldeburgh, Suffolk, and became mayor herself, following her husband's death, in 1908. Subsequently, she returned to suffrage politics, but left the National Union of Suffrage Societies, which her sister Millicent Fawcett dominated, and became active in the militant Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) until 1911 when she objected to their arson campaign. Garrett Anderson and Skelton had one son, Alan Garrett Anderson (1877-1952), and two daughters, Margaret, who died of meningitis in 1875, and Louisa Garrett Anderson (1873–1943). Alan followed his father to become a public servant and shipowner, whilst Louisa went on to become a distinguished doctor herself and active suffragette. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson died on 17 Dec 1917.

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 in the Fawcett Library by Taylor, Garrett, solicitors via the British Records Association. (Former BRA 2203)

Other Finding Aids

Fawcett Library Catalogue.

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds the Autograph Letters of Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Ref. 9/10 The Royal Free Hospital Archives Centre holds the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Collection (1 box). The Women's Library also holds the Papers of Millicent Garrett Fawcett, her sister, (7MGF) and the Papers of Louisa Garrett Anderson, her daughter (7LGA)