I.W.S.A. News Cutting Files

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 133 IWSA/3
  • Dates of Creation
  • Physical Description
      174 items. Condition: news cuttings are by nature fragile and many of them are mounted on poor quality paper which is itself disintegrating.

Scope and Content

Files of mounted news cuttings relating to all aspects of the women's movement worldwide were collected by the I.W.S.A. Information Bureau. News cutting mounts record the date of the cutting and its source. The files also include some unmounted news cuttings and some manuscript and typescript items.

Some news cuttings have been supplied by news cutting agencies but the majority were almost certainly cut by the staff at the I.W.S.A. Headquarters Office. Some of the cuttings from foreign papers may have been supplied by members in the relevant countries but, except in the case of American news cuttings, if this was the case nothing is known of the women who supplied the information.

In the case of some of the cuttings from American papers the cuttings were supplied by Ida Husted Harper, Chairman of the Department of Editorial Correspondence of the Leslie Woman Suffrage Commission Inc., U.S.A. (L.W.S.C.) of which Carrie Chapman Catt was President.

Language: the series is predominantly written in English but a minority of items are written in French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Russian and Spanish.


The archivist found that the original order of the files and of the news cuttings within the files had been thoroughly disturbed but the existence of I.W.S.A. indexing rules has allowed accurate reconstruction. It should be remembered, however, that the I.W.S.A. did not always follow their own indexing rules to the letter and where non-compliance was apparently original, as in the case of an incorrectly allocated subject code or an incorrect but logical filing, the inconsistency has been retained, with cross references.

According to the `Plan of the Index' the news cuttings were filed under 12 main subject headings: 

  • B Population
  • C Children
  • D Drink
  • E Education
  • I Economic Conditions
  • Ia Occupations
  • L Legal Position of Women
  • M Equal Moral Standard
  • P War and Peace
  • S Woman Suffrage
  • V Voting Women
  • W Women's Movement

Later another index letter, X, was introduced which took some of the cuttings which had previously been filed under P.

Within each main heading were a series of sub-headings, which can be found in the `Plan of the Index'; sub-headings were arranged alphabetically under their main heading. There were around 140 sub-headings.

News cuttings were also indexed by country. Except where a cutting refers to many countries or where the question of country is of no importance the news cutting mounts were supposed to record: main heading subject letter (eg S); sub-heading (eg Electoral Reform); and country (eg Great Britain).

In accordance with the `Rules for Making Index Cards', for index letters S, V and W the country was supposed to be entered in the first line and the subject heading in the second line - leading to the creation of country files - but for all other index letters the subject heading was to be given in the first line and the country in the second line - leading to the creation of subject files.

Thus for codes S, V and W the files are arranged first by country and then within that by subject classification whilst all other files are arranged first by subject classification and then by country.

According to the `Guide to Card Index and Cuttings File' "the headings (both subject headings and countries)...are arranged alphabetically except that subject headings beginning with agiven guide letter precede countries beginning with the same letter eg `C Maternity Assistance' precedes `China'".

Each file begins with cuttings which have just the initial heading or sub-heading and are then followed by those which are sub-headed by subject or country. Within each subject the archivist has placed cuttings in chronological order since this is the order in which they must have been collected. Any undated items appear at the end of the relevant classification section.

Where a file contains cuttings relating to a number of countries, unless otherwise stated, the majority of the cuttings usually relate to Great Britain followed by France, Germany and the U.S.A.

Access Information

Extreme care is required in handling the collection and staff may withhold access to items for reasons of conservation.