As both historical researcher and book dealer I stumble across facts that, while delighting, do not fit into planned projects. ‘Woman and her Sphere’ provides a home for such orphans, rescued from the rubble of history.

Kate

One of my ‘orphans’ – Kate Frye (1878-1959) – has been resurrected by ITV who has put her (played by Romola Garai) in a series – The Great War: The People’s Story – and commissioned me to write her life. This story of an ordinary Englishwoman will appeal to all those interested in a real life lived – from the palmy days of Victoria to  the New Elizabethan age. For more details read here.

Download the e-book  from iTunes – http://bit.ly/PSeBKPFITVal or from Amazon.

The Great War: The People’s Story  begins at 9pm on Sunday 10 August on ITV – and runs for 4 weeks.

 

Do consult the Links (on right) to see – and hear – the fruit of some of the research I have undertaken over the last few years – and to view the books and ephemera that I have for sale on Abebooks.

I specialise in selling second-hand books and ephemera by and about women and produce catalogues of items for sale. Do get in touch if you would like to be added to my mailing list. Lists are sent by email.

Contact me at e.crawford@sphere20.freeserve.co.uk

Copyright

All the articles on Woman and Her Sphere and are my copyright. An article may not be reproduced in any medium without my permission and full acknowledgement. You are welcome to cite or quote from an article provided you give full acknowledgement.

After graduating in history and politics, I worked for some years for Cambridge University Press and then J.M. Dent before combining work as a free-lance copy editor with caring for my three children.

I began selling second-hand books and ephemera by and about women in 1984. Then this area was regarded by the trade as of little consequence. However, over time,  interest in women’s – and family – history has grown and been reflected in an awareness of the importance of primary source material – books and ephemera – in composing a picture of women’s lives in the past.

Intrigued by the material that was passing through my hands, I have, over the last 20 years or so researched and written several books. The first, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide  (Routledge 1999) grew out of the necessity of researching items connected with the suffrage movement in order to be able to catalogue them for sale accurately. ‘What’, I thought, ‘is needed is a compendium containing full information on the people and societies involved.’  A publisher’s editor to whom I mentioned the idea agreed – and I set to work. The Reference Guide  was followed by The Women’s Suffrage Movement in Britain and Ireland: a regional survey, published by Routledge in 2005, which explains how – from 1866 -the suffrage movement developed throughout the British Isles.

In between these two books I wrote Enterprising Women: the Garretts and their circle, published by Francis Boutle in 2002. In this I discuss the lifetime’s work of a group of efficient, highly-motivated women who transformed women’s lives in Britain in the last quarter of the 19th century. The work of the Garretts and their circle opened for women entry to areas of work and study from which they had hitherto been barred – medicine, education,  and interior and landscape design – as well as, at the same time, campaigning for the vote. In 2009-11 I had the pleasure of helping to create the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Gallery, generously funded by UNISON,  in what was the ground floor of the former Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Hospital, now part of the UNISON Centre at 130 Euston Road, London NW1 2AY.

Campaigning for the Vote: Kate Parry Frye’s Suffrage Diary was published by Francis Boutle in 2013. For this I combined the two aspects of my work, turning a voluminous diary that I bought as a bookseller into another source of primary research material for those interested in the suffrage movment.

Over the years I have contributed to various radio – and television – programmes and given many talks – at academic conferences, to schools and to local history groups – on a range of topics associated with my researches.

FORTHCOMING TALKS: 2014

WOOBURN FESTIVAL – 24 SEPTEMBER –  KATE FRYE’S SUFFRAGE DIARY. to find out more click here 

 

  1. #1 by Gaby Weiner on July 27, 2012 - 11:17 am

    Very impressive Does this mean that you won’t be sending your catalogue out or is this an addition.

    gaby

    • #2 by womanandhersphere on July 27, 2012 - 11:28 am

      Dear Gaby

      Yes, I shall still be sending out printed catalogues – this is just an addition. My hope is that the site will interest others; it rather entertains me.

      Best wishes
      Elizabeth

  2. #3 by Kenneth Florey on July 27, 2012 - 11:47 am

    Elizabeth,
    A very impressive web site and one that was sorely needed. My only regret here is that it was not available before I sent off my manuscript on suffrage memorabilia to my publisher. Your background information on suffrage artifacts is invaluable, particularly for an American who is very interested in the British movement, but does not have ready access to some essential manuscript material. As usual, your analytical skills are impeccable.

    • #4 by womanandhersphere on July 27, 2012 - 12:06 pm

      Dear Ken

      Thanks for your comments. Do you have a publication date yet for your book?

      Best wishes
      Elizabeth

  3. #5 by Kenneth Florey on July 27, 2012 - 12:42 pm

    Not yet. I have been forewarned that this will be a slow process. Based on what the publisher has told me, my guess is 8-9 months, although I am trying to speed up the process on my end. Thanks for asking. Needless to say, your “The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a Reference Guide” was a very valuable resource for me.

  4. #6 by Jacki Becker on August 13, 2012 - 12:31 am

    I once was in the open university bookshop in Milton Keynes and found a book with a long chapter on the relationship between my aunt Lydia Becker and Jacob Bright MP and as this was around 1995 when I had just met my now husband also a Bright it was of particular interest! he knows of no MP in his family history indeed knows little of them in Victorian times and he did look remarkably like th pic of Jacob with a fair beard in black and white in my biography of Lydia by Blackburn
    Also I have been contacted by someone writing about the relationship correspondence between Lydia and Darwin as she was a botanist I am not a research student but do have an interest to col
    Ate this info as all our Papers and books relating to her were given to the Fawcett library by my grandfather in the 1960s

    • #7 by womanandhersphere on August 13, 2012 - 10:14 am

      I suspect the book you saw in the bookshop was Audrey Kelly, Lydia Becker and the cause, published in 1992.I don’t have a copy in stock at the moment, but copies are available on Amazon. Here is the link to the Lydia Becker Papers in the Women’s Library (formerly the Fawcett Library) – http://calmarchive.londonmet.ac.uk/DServe/dserve.exe?dsqIni=Dserve.ini&dsqApp=Archive&dsqCmd=Show.tcl&dsqDb=Catalog&dsqSearch=((text)='lydia becker’)&dsqPos=14
      I have read her papers there – and am, therefore, very grateful to your grandfather for donating them!
      The Brights were, of course, a large Lancashire Quaker family – with 2 MPS in the 19th century – the more famous John Bright – as well as his brother, Jacob. Through intermarriage they created a powerful network – reaching through England and Scotland – supporting all the 19th-century radical causes. Bright women were prominent in the suffrage campaign. Because these families interested me so much, my book ‘The Women’s Suffrage Movement: a reference guide’ has an appendix showing the family trees of ‘The Radical Liberal Family network.’ ‘Bright’ is not, of course, an uncommon name, but your husband might find he was connected in some way to these radicals.
      Elizabeth

  5. #8 by artandarchitecturemainly on September 8, 2012 - 7:09 pm

    Thank you for the link.
    Yes, I would love to receive a list of books and catalogues by email.

    Hels

    http://melbourneblogger.blogspot.com.au/2009/01/history-of-tea-rooms-and-suffragettes.html

  6. #9 by Joy Bounds on September 30, 2012 - 7:11 pm

    Hello Elizabeth, what a lovely website! I’m going to order a couple of things from No 175, but before doing so, wondered if you ever come across copies of Christopher St John’s Ethel Smyth, – a Biography? This is a book I would dearly like to own if I found one resonably priced.

    I’m getting towards the first draft of my booklet about the Ipswich suffragettes. What great stories they are!

    Best wishes, Joy

  7. #10 by David Schuyler on December 10, 2012 - 9:22 pm

    Dear Elizabeth. I write as editor of the final volume of the Frederick Law Olmsted Papers project. We found your work on Fanny Wilkinson very helpful. In another letter of 1894, to his son John, then traveling in England, he suggests visiting “any of the revised church yard public gardens of Miss Carpenter’s designing.” In your work in the MGPA collection in the London Metropolitan Archives, did you come across a Miss Carpenter? We whall be grateful for any help you might be able to provide.
    Thanks very much.
    David Schuyer

    • #11 by womanandhersphere on December 11, 2012 - 9:55 am

      Dear David
      Good to make contact. I must confess, though, that I am baffled by the mention of a ‘Miss Carpenter’ laying out church yards etc c 1894. I do not recall coming across anybody of that name in the MPGA records – or in such records of the Kyrle Society as survive. Do you think Olmsted just might have got the name wrong – and really meant ‘Miss Wilkinson’? If there had been a Miss Carpenter mentioned anywhere I am sure I would have pounced on her to discover more about her. Emmeline Sieveking was, of course, FW’s assistant – but, again, hardly a name one could mishear or mistranscribe as ‘Carpenter’. Incidentally, the previous year Fanny Wilkinson did have some kind of plans exhibited at the World Fair – presumably in the Woman’s Exhibition. WOuld Olmsted – as designer of the site – have taken any interest in such a minor exhibit? Did Olmsted’s son make any report back on the state of English public gardens?
      Best wishes
      Elizabeth

      • #12 by David Schuyler on December 11, 2012 - 6:43 pm

        Dear Elizabeth,
        I agree. Olmsted surely must be mistaken. He was well aware of Fanny Wilkinson’s work with MPGA (at Lord Meath’s suggestion he was an honorary member) and expected to meet her when in London in June 1892. He was seriously ill for most of that visit, however, and I find no evidence that they did get together.
        One thing that Olmsted hoped to achieve was to have a separate exhibition for landscape architecture at the Columbian Exposition and he wanted Edouard Andre, William Robinson and other European friends to support that effort. He was not able to persuade the exposition’s planners to have such a dedicated exhibition, and so his firm’s work was a rather small display. I’m sure he knew of Fanny’s plans but he did not, so far as I can tell from surviving correspondence, comment upon it.
        I’ll keep you posted as I continue this odyssey.

        Thanks, and best wishes,
        David

  8. #13 by Fight for the Right on February 11, 2013 - 9:29 am

    Dear Elizabeth,
    I just wanted to write and say thank you for this wonderful website and also for your publications The Woman’s Suffrage Movement and From Frederick Street to Winson Green. Both have been extremely useful for our project Fight for the Right: The Birmingham Suffragettes. We are particularly focusing on Hilda Burkitt, Bertha Ryland and Catherine Osler and are aiming to have our film finished by June this year.
    Best wishes,
    Nicola

    • #14 by womanandhersphere on February 15, 2013 - 6:19 pm

      Dear Nicola

      Your kind words are much appreciated – and encouraging. Coincidentally I have just completed an entry on Catherine Osler for the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (which is doing a concentrated blitz on Birmingham personalities to coincide with the opening of the new library). Hilda Burkitt crops up briefly in my new book – to be published very soon. ‘Campaigning for the Vote’ is an edited version of a diary of a woman, Kate Frye, who worked as an organiser for one of the smaller suffrage societies – and who, when organising in Dover, stayed in digs with Hilda’s aunts, the Misses Burkitt.

      Best wishes
      Elizabeth

      • #15 by Fight for the Right on February 16, 2013 - 1:00 pm

        Dear Elizabeth,
        Thanks for this. I look forward to reading your DNB entry on Catherine, she’s a very interesting character, and your new book sounds fascinating.
        Best,
        Nicola

  9. #16 by Martin Moseling on May 9, 2013 - 11:17 am

    Dear Elizabeth,
    I’m on the point of publishing a book which takes in the events of 1913 at Tunbridge Wells and I am trying to locate a high res photograph of the burnt out pavilion at TW Cricket Club. I see you have one on your pages and winder if you might be able to direct me to the source.
    Martin 07973834410

  10. #17 by Guy Jones on May 15, 2013 - 11:40 pm

    Interesting to read your letter in the recent edition of the antiques trade gazette.There was an intresting “Suffragette tea service” in an auction at Dreweatts of Bristol a few months back which might have been of interest to you (the items never made their reserve).I will contact you in the future if I come across similar pieces.

  11. #18 by Lucy Paquette, author of The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot on July 1, 2013 - 2:30 pm

    Dear Elizabeth,

    I recently discovered your fascinating blog while researching Algernon Moses Marsden for my blog on James Tissot. Sybil Marsden’s story was so compelling that I included it, citing your work and providing your link at http://thehammocknovel.wordpress.com/.

    Thank you for all your excellent research into lives that would otherwise remain unknown and uncelebrated.

    Lucy Paquette

    Author of The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot

    • #19 by womanandhersphere on July 1, 2013 - 4:38 pm

      Delighted to read your post on Algernon Moses Marsden. What a scoundrel – just the kind of chap to drive a woman into the suffrage movement. Happily, Sybil lived a good deal longer than you mention – dying in 1946 and leaving over £5000 – so her dressmaking business had clearly been reasonably successful.
      Elizabeth

  12. #20 by Lucy Paquette, author of The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot on July 1, 2013 - 5:04 pm

    Elizabeth, thanks for alerting me to that error. Would you be so kind as to direct me to your source for Sybil’s biographical details (especially if it’s online)? I relied on an ancestry website, and I’ll need to correct this.

    Lucy

    • #21 by womanandhersphere on July 1, 2013 - 6:05 pm

      Lucy ~ I found all her details on ancestry.co.uk – ie censuses & birth, death – and the record of her will. If you’re a subscriber to ancestry you’ll have no trouble accessing all this info.
      Elizabeth

  13. #22 by Lucy Paquette, author of The Hammock: A novel based on the true story of French painter James Tissot on July 1, 2013 - 6:17 pm

    Elizabeth, I greatly appreciate your speedy help with this. Sybil’s apparent tragedy is thus averted!

    Lucy

  14. #23 by suffragefirst on August 14, 2014 - 5:25 pm

    Dear Elizabeth,
    I am delighted that my good friend Marguerite Kearns told me about this wonderful web site. I have a long-term interest in suffrage, and just last year had my book published, Long Island and the Woman Suffrage Movement. I look forward to reading your articles and accessing the stories.
    Thank you!
    Antonia Petrash

  15. #25 by Sally Wilson on September 7, 2014 - 5:56 pm

    My message of a few minutes ago accidentally was sent before I had finished it. What I would like to ask you is: is there any possible way of accessing the National Archives for information on Edward Johnson Wilson and his ownership of the Rinkeries Skating Rink in Aldwych in about 1911. This is purely for my own personal curiosity and family history. I an writing to you from my home in Spain.
    My most sincere thanks for any information you may be able to offer.
    Respectfully.
    Sally Wilson

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