Association of Head Mistresses

Scope and Content

The collection comprises the minutes of the various committees of the Association of Head Mistresses, 1879 - 1975 [incomplete]. There is a good run of Annual Reports, 1895 - 1973 and detailed reports of the annual conference and general meeting, 1911 - 74 [incomplete]. Various branch records, including minutes, exist for the London and Middlesex region, the Midlands region and Yorkshire region, 1908 - 77 [incomplete]. There is a photograph album from 1890 and press cuttings albums for the 1960s and 1970s. There are also papers relating to the foundation of the Association of Head Mistresses of Preparatory Schools [MSS. 188/3/11/1], 1929 - 1964 [incomplete] and papers of the Girls' Schools' Association (Independent and Direct Grant) [MSS. 188/GSA].

Administrative / Biographical History

The Association of Head Mistresses of Endowed and Proprietary Schools was founded in 1874 by Miss Frances Mary Buss, Head Mistress of the North London Collegiate School for Girls. There were thirteen members. She was first President of the Association holding office from its foundation until her death in 1894, when succeeded by the other great 'pioneer' headmistress, Miss Dorothea Beale of the Ladies College, Cheltenham.

In 1896, when there were 166 ordinary women members, the Association became incorporated with the title 'The Association of Head Mistresses, Incorporated 1896'. In 1959 membership had risen to 892 ordinary members, including Head Mistresses of 'approved' secondary schools. [MSS.188/3/6/1].The Association merged with the Association of Headmasters on 1 January 1978 to become the Secondary Heads' Association.

Archives of academic and financial interest have also been deposited with the North London Collegiate School for Girls by the Association of Head Mistresses. Miss Buss was founder and Head of the school as well as founder of the Association.

See MSS. 188/3/6/2 for a transcript of 'Reluctant Revolutionaries. A Century of Head Mistresses 1874 - 1974' by Mary Price and Nonita Glenday, 1974. A brief history of the Association is also given at MSS. 188/4/1/1.

Access Information

This collection is available to researchers by appointment at the Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick. See

Other Finding Aids

Conditions Governing Use

There are no restrictions.

Custodial History

The Association of Head Mistresses papers were received by the Centre from the Head Office of the Association of Head Mistresses and from the Midland Branch of the Association of Head Mistresses.

Related Material

Association of Assistant Mistresses; Headmasters' Association; Headmasters' Conference, later the Headmasters' and Headmistresses' Conference and the National Union of Teachers