Ethel Williams Archive

Scope and Content

34 items. Includes letters from contemporaries of Williams, including letters sent in support of job applications. Also includes a number of photographs of Williams throughout her life, objects connected to the suffrage movement, and selected information about Williams collected after her death.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ethel Williams was born in Cromer, Norfolk, in 1863 and was educated at Norwich High School and at Newnham College Cambridge, 1882-85, though she did not take a degree. She attended the London School of Medicine for Women where she took an MB in 1891 and an MD in 1895 before returning to Cambridge to study for a diploma in public health in 1899. After working as a medical officer at Clapham Maternity Hospital and at the Dispensary for Women and Children at Blackfriars, she went to Newcastle as the city’s first woman doctor, and in 1906 became the first woman to found a general medical practice in the city.

Having signed the Declaration in Favour of Women’s Suffrage in 1889, Williams served as secretary of the Newcastle Women’s Liberal Association and became president of the Newcastle and District Women’s Suffrage Society (NUWSS), and took part in the “Mud March” of February 1907. By 1915 she was chairman of the North-Eastern Federation of the NUWSS. During the war Ethel Williams joined the Union of Democratic Control, was secretary of the Newcastle Workers’ and Soldiers’ Council, and was a founding member of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, of which she was a secretary of the Newcastle branch in 1934. In 1917, Williams co-founded the Northern Women’s Hospital, before retiring in 1924. She died in 1948.

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