Papers of Anna Davin

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 7ADA
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 7/XX26; 7/XX26a;
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
      English , French , Italian
  • Physical Description
      2 A boxes

Scope and Content

The archive consists of:

* Material relating to Women's Weekend in Ruskin College, Oxford, 27 Feb-1 Mar 1970

* Papers relating to the London Feminist History Group

* Papers relating to women's libraries / archives and information centres

* Women's Liberation Movement in Italy

* Ephemera

Administrative / Biographical History

Anna Davin (b 1940), daughter of Winnie and Dan Davin, grew up in Oxford, where her parents worked for the Oxford University Press. She married Luke Hodgkin in 1958 and had three children. From 1966 to 1969 she was a History student at Warwick University. In 1968 she and other women members of the Socialist Society at Warwick, including American exchange students, started a Women's Liberation Group. Along with non-student members from nearby Coventry the group campaigned on general issues such as equal pay, reproductive rights and better access to university education, and called for a crèche to be established for women working and studying at the university. Anna was closely involved in the History Workshop movement during the 1970s. She was a founding member of the editorial collective of History Workshop Journal, in 1976, and was to continue as an active editor for over thirty years. In 1970 she moved to London and started a History PhD at Birkbeck College. This was initially about the lives of late 19th century working-class women in London, from childhood to old age, but when eventually submitted, in 1992, its focus was on children; the book Growing Up Poor: Home, School and Street in London 1870-1914 followed in 1996. In London she joined the Stratford Women's Liberation Group (and helped produce their issue of Shrew), and also a feminist study group in Pimlico (the 'History Group'), and for a time helped in the Women's Liberation office. She was active in a pioneering community history group ('People's Autobiography of Hackney'); in the Feminist History Group; and also in 'The Public Library', a short-lived attempt to establish a library of political ephemera. Her best-known publication is an article called 'Imperialism and Motherhood', (History Workshop Journal, no 5, 1976). Anna taught women's history for many years: London evening classes in the 1980s; as a visiting lecturer at Binghamton University, New York for six weeks a year between 1979 and 2002; at Middlesex University as a part-timer and research fellow in the 1990s; and twice as maternity cover on the Women's History MA at Royal Holloway, University of London. She subsequently taught summer school students from the University of Michigan and an annual Oral History course at the Institute of Historical Research; and returned to adult education, teaching London history for the Continuing Education department at Birkbeck College.


The archive has been arranged into 5 groups:

7ADA/01 - Papers relating to Women's Weekend at Ruskin College, Oxford

7ADA/02 - London Feminist History Group

7ADA/03 - Papers relating to women's libraries / archives and information centres

7ADA/04 - Women's Liberation Movement - Italy

7ADA/05 - Ephemera

Access Information

This collection is catalogued and available for research.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited in 1991 and 2003 as an outright gift.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds: the Records of the London Feminist History Group (5LFH); and the Records of the Women's Research and Resources Centre (5WRR). The Women's Library Printed Collections holds a number of Women's Liberation periodicals.