Scrapbook [of the Women's Institute]

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

This scrapbook consists of press cuttings. The main body of the scrapbook dates from 1915-1927 and includes press cuttings from the local, national and specialist press relating to the activities of the Women's Institute and to women's employment. Also enclosed are a few loose scrapbook pages from 1898-1906 relating to the work of the club and to conferences and meetings on women's issues.

Administrative / Biographical History

The club named the Women's Institute (1897-1928) predated the more famous National Federation of Women's Institutes by almost two decades and was of a very different character. It was founded in 1897 at 15 Grosvenor Crescent by Mrs Nora Wynford Philipps and was intended to be a centre for women involved in the professions, education, social and philanthropic work. It was also intended to make other societies' work better known through its information bureau and co-operated with the Central Bureau for the Employment of Women regularly. It initially held weekly debates and 'at homes' run by the Executive Committee and organised a musical society, an art society, a recreational department, a circulating library, and a voluntary workers' society for philanthropic work. It also organised a secretarial department that undertook the training of typists and book keepers as well as an employment service for its members. At the same time it acted as a centre for the organisation of social and educational activities and a centre for research and dissemination of information on various subjects. It was responsible for the publication of several works such as Mrs Sidgwick's 'The Place of University Education in the Life of Women', pamphlet versions of lectures and the 'Dictionary of Employments Open to Women'. By the turn of the century it had over 800 members and maintained links with over 45 other groups, making it necessary to move to its second location at 92 Victoria Street from where a large range of other feminist organisations operated. In 1916 it was responsible for the opening of the Women's Club for the wives and mothers of servicemen and during the First World War gave rooms to the British Women's Patriotic League, the London School of Needlework, the Women's Local Government Society and the Head Mistresses Association amongst others. After the war, it was the location of meetings of the Dexter Club, the Censorship Club and the association for former members of the Scottish Women's Hospitals. While is appears to have still been active in 1925, activities ceased some time around 1928.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit. THIS COLLECTION IS CURRENTLY AWAITING URGENT CONSERVATION WORK AND WILL BE UNAVAILABLE UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. In addition some of the items are restricted access due to the deposit agreements.

Other Finding Aids

Fonds Description (1 folder only)

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds a number of letters to the Women's Institute from its members (9/15). there is also a bound volume of pamphlets related to the Women's Institute in The Women's Library Printed Collections Cavenidsh Bentinck Collected pamphlets volume 23 (NB as at Aug 2006 this had restricted access as it was very fragile).