National Library of Australia
The purpose of this guide is to provide researchers with an overview of and links to the National Library of Australia's manuscript collections with content on or related to women's suffrage.
The National Library holds a number of collections of personal papers of prominent Australian feminists, including those who participated in the fight for women's rights to vote and to hold elected office both in Australia and internationally.
The collections in this guide pertain to women who were active campaigners on a range of feminist issues that included women's suffrage, or who were active collectors of the record of women's suffrage activism.
Of special interest are the Papers and Objects of Bessie Rischbieth, which include several series on Australian and international suffrage movements and key figures, including the militant suffrage campaign in Great Britain.
Other significant collections related to women's suffrage, and subsequent feminist and social activism include the Papers of Ruby Rich, the Papers of Jessie Street and the Papers of Catherine Helen Spence. Some influential figures included in this guide, such as Vida Goldstein, are only minimally represented in the National Library collection, but the small collections about these women form contribute to record of how they advocated for enfranchisement, and to improve women's rights in general.
The organisational collections included in this guide highlight the work that was an extension of women's enfranchisement. For example, the papers of the Australian Federation of Women Voters are a documentary record of how Australian women used their enfranchisement to lobby on a wide range of political and social welfare issues, and to promote female delegates to international forums including the League of Nations and United Nations.
Most of these items are available for viewing in our Special Collections Reading Room. In order to request items you will need to be registered as a reader, which can be done online. Items need to be requested online via the Library's catalogue prior to your visit. If you are unable to visit the Library in person, you can access information about our holdings via the Library's catalogue. Following is a list of all of the Library's currency holdings. Each entry is linked to the individual catalogue record which provides a description of the holding and a link to finding aids and digitised images, where available.
Have you uncovered new information relating to any of our collections? If so, we would like to hear from you. You can contact us via our Ask a Librarian service.
|1902||New South Wales|
|1911||Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory|
|1962||Indigenous Australians (all)|
|1918||Partial womens' suffrage (some women over 30 years of age)|
|1928||Suffrage for all women over 21 years of age|
Material mostly concerning women and trade unions, and women's suffrage. Link to catalogue record and from there to the finding aid for the whole collection.
Material relating to Vida Goldstein. Leslie Moira Henderson was the niece of Vida Goldstein. Link to catalogue record.
Papers relating to Bessie Rischbieth's involvement in women's rights movements at local, national and international levels. Of special interest is the collection of material on the women's suffrage movement in Great Britain between 1906 and 1928. Link to catalogue record and from there to the finding aid for the whole collection.
Papers pertaining equally to Tom and Adela's activities, covering topics such as women's rights, communism, politics, labour disputes, war, and the Seamen's Union. Link to catalogue record and from there to the finding aid for the whole collection.
The address is from the Women's Social and Political Union and is signed by Emmeline Pankhurst. Link to catalogue record.
Material relating to women's achievements and rights, equal pay, and general women's matters. Link to catalogue record.
The papers document Street's involvement in the United Associations of Women (U.A.W), the campaign for Aboriginal rights, the peace movement and the banning of nuclear weapons. Link to catalogue record and from there to the finding aid for the whole collection.
A small collection comprising correspondence, an invitation, and newspaper cuttings related to women's suffrage and the work of Lady Mary Windeyer and Margaret Windeyer. Link to catalogue record and from there to the finding aid for the whole collection.
Material relating to feminism, her literary interests, and personal correspondence. Also included are poetry monographs and a photograph album. Link to catalogue record and from there to the finding aid for the whole collection.
Material relating to Ruby Rich's involvement in numerous women's, Jewish, cultural and international organisations, and personal correspondence. Link to catalogue record and from there to the finding aid for the whole collection.
Correspondence, curriculum vitae, newspaper cuttings and miscellaneous papers. Includes papers regarding Bessie Mabel Rischbieth. Link to catalogue record.
Personal correspondence and recollections of her journey to Australia and childhood in Sydney covering the period 1870-95. Link to catalogue record.
Contains material relating to Caroline (Cara) David's involvement in matters concerning the well-being of women and children, and the Women's National Movement for Social Reform. Link to catalogue record and from there to the finding aid for the whole collection.
Two letters dated 1st and 31st of July, 1930 from Christobel Pankhurst to Australian landscape painter Dora Meeson. Link to catalogue record.
Contains correspondence and notes relating to women's suffrage and women's labour. The National Library holds a microfilm copy of the original documents that are held in the Mitchell Library. Link to catalogue record.
Correspondence regarding womanhood suffrage. The National Library holds a microfilm copy of the original documents that are held in the Mitchell Library. Link to catalogue record.
Records of the Australian Federation of Women Voters and affiliated organisations, relating to women, family planning, equal rights, moral standards and discrimination. Link to catalogue record and from there to the finding aid for the whole collection.
Annual reports. Link to catalogue record.
Manuscript drafts of biographical papers on women involved in the suffrage movement including Vida Goldstein, Ruby Rich and Bessie Mabel Rischbieth. Author Julia Rapke. Link to catalogue record.
Biographical notes by her niece. Henderson, Leslie M. (Leslie Moira), 1896-1982. Link to catalogue record.
Woman's suffrage in Australia, a typescript written in 1924. Author Maybanke Anderson. Link to catalogue record.