Guide to Manuscript Collections on women's suffrage in the National Library of Australia

MST 3

National Library of Australia

Collection Summary

Title
Guide to Manuscript Collections on women's suffrage in the National Library of Australia
Date Range
c.1890s-1970s
Collection Number
MST 3
Extent
21 collections
Language of Materials
English
Repository
NLA
Sponsor
The work to preserve, digitise and describe the Library's collections about women's suffrage was made possible by the generous financial support of donors to 2016 Tax Time Appeal. The Library gratefully acknowledges this support.

Introduction

Purpose

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.

Overview

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.

View our holdings

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.

Contacting us

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.

Achievement of women's suffrage in Australia

Date Event
1895 South Australia
1899 Western Australia
1902 Commonwealth
1902 New South Wales
1903 Tasmania
1905 Queensland
1908 Victoria
1911 Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory
1962 Indigenous Australians (all)

Achievement of women's suffrage in Great Britain

Date Event
1918 Partial womens' suffrage (some women over 30 years of age)
1928 Suffrage for all women over 21 years of age

Item Descriptions

Class 1. Collections of personal papers Show allonly 1

Collection 1. MS 1066 Papers of Alice Henry, 1873-1943 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Collection 2. MS 1444 Papers of Leslie M. Henderson, circa 1880 - 1961 Show allonly 1

Brief description

Material relating to Vida Goldstein. Leslie Moira Henderson was the niece of Vida Goldstein. Link to catalogue record.

Collection 3. MS 2004 Papers of Bessie Rischbieth, 1900-1967 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Collection 4. MS 2123 Papers of Thomas Walsh and Adela Pankhurst Walsh, 1905-1961 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Item 5. MS 2163 Illuminated address presented to Louisa Cullen Show allonly 1

Brief description

The address is from the Women's Social and Political Union and is signed by Emmeline Pankhurst. Link to catalogue record.

Collection 6. MS 2260 Papers of Ruby Rich, 1943-1948 Show allonly 1

Brief description

Material relating to women's achievements and rights, equal pay, and general women's matters. Link to catalogue record.

Collection 7. MS 2683 Papers of Jessie Street, circa 1914 - 1968 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Collection 8. MS 3341 Papers of Lady Mary Windeyer and Margaret Windeyer, 1894-1926 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Collection 9. MS 6608 Papers of Mary E. Fullerton, 1920-1946 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Collection 10. MS 7493 Papers of Ruby Rich, 1906-1984 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Collection 11. MS 7737 Papers of Irene Greenwood, 1912-1981 Show allonly 1

Brief description

Correspondence, curriculum vitae, newspaper cuttings and miscellaneous papers. Includes papers regarding Bessie Mabel Rischbieth. Link to catalogue record.

Collection 12. MS 8574 Papers of Annie Louisa Green, 1946-1947 Show allonly 1

Brief description

Personal correspondence and recollections of her journey to Australia and childhood in Sydney covering the period 1870-95. Link to catalogue record.

Collection 13. MS 8890 Papers of the David Family, 1823-1992 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Collection 14. MS 9688 Letters of Christobel Pankhurst to Dora Meeson, 1930 Show allonly 1

General

Two letters dated 1st and 31st of July, 1930 from Christobel Pankhurst to Australian landscape painter Dora Meeson. Link to catalogue record.

Collection 15. Mfm G 8136 - 8139 Papers of Catherine Helen Spence [microform], 1856-1909 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Collection 16. Mfm G 28059-28061 Papers of Rose Scott [microform], 1877-1920 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Class 2. Organisational collections Show allonly 1

Collection 1. MS 2818 Records of the Australian Federation of Women Voters, 1920-1983 Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

Collection 2. MS 5957 Reports of the Women Voters of Victoria, 1978-1979 Show allonly 1

Brief description

Annual reports. Link to catalogue record.

Class 3. Other related manuscript collections Show allonly 1

Collection 1. MS 842 Papers on various Australian women Show allonly 1

Brief description

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.

File 2. MS 1637 Vida Goldstein 1869-1949 Show allonly 1

General

Biographical notes by her niece. Henderson, Leslie M. (Leslie Moira), 1896-1982. Link to catalogue record.

Collection 3. MS 3447 Woman's suffrage, 1924 Show allonly 1

Brief description

Woman's suffrage in Australia, a typescript written in 1924. Author Maybanke Anderson. Link to catalogue record.