Papers of Doris Nield Chew

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 7DNC
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 TH 418-419
  • Dates of Creation
  • Name of Creator
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      3 A boxes

Scope and Content

This archive consists of the personal papers of Doris Nield Chew. It is comprised of unpublished manuscripts, papers, diaries and slides relating to her travels, research notes and papers, correspondence with associates and publishers, administrative and legal papers and press cuttings.

The majority of the material in the collection dates from 1959-1984.

Administrative / Biographical History

Doris Nield Chew (1898-1984) was born in 1898, the daughter of the trade unionist and pacifist Ada Nield Chew and her husband George Chew. Prior to starting school late at the age of seven, she was frequently taken on campaigns for the Women's Trade Union League with her mother. She was educated at Manchester University where she took a degree in history. She subsequently became a history teacher at various secondary schools including Burnley High School (1926-1958) where she worked until her retirement. Following her retirement, she travelled extensively before returning to the United Kingdom.

Doris herself was herself involved with peace campaigns, and was a member of the Burnley LNU and Peace Council. She was also involved in local politics, and her positions included Secretary for the NUT and Honorary Secretary for the Mid-Pennine Association for the Arts. Furthermore, she was also a Justice of the Peace from 1947 to 1971, the year in which she received an MBE.

She published a biography and a collection of her mother's writings with Virago in 1982 as 'The life and writings of Ada Nield'. This was later adapted into a television drama by Granada in 1983. However, she was unsuccessful in publishing a number of other manuscripts in later life.

She died in 1984.


An arrangement was imposed by the depositor, Ms Anna Davin, with some correspondence of her own inserted into the collection. Most of this arrangement has been kept, although correspondence has been arranged by individual recipients rather than chronologically. Misfiled items have been moved to the appropriate series. Duplicate copies of two unpublished manuscripts 'Poems of Old Age' and 'The Years Between' have been disposed of.

Access Information

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 Anna Davin in 1997

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Custodial History

The majorty of the archive was given to Anna Davin as literary executor on Doris Nield Chew's death. The slides (7DNC/O) were given to Doris Nield Chew's friend, Mrs Janet Clunie, who donated them to The Women's Library in Apr 2011.

Related Material

The Women's Library holds further material related to Doris Nield Chew, including two interviews with her about her mother: one with Brian Harrison as part of the Oral Evidence on the Suffragette and Suffragist Movements project (reference 8SUF/B/037) and one with Jill Liddington for the Daughters of Radical Suffragists Oral History project (reference 8DRS). A copy of her book 'The life and writings of Ada Nield Chew' is available in The Women's Library printed collection (classification mark 305.420924 CHE- correct as of May 2010).


Chew, Doris Nield, 'The life and writings of Ada Nield Chew', London: Virago, 1982.

Geographical Names