Tuesday, 2 December 2014

a different type of advent calendar - suffrage

This year for our advent special ALISS will focus on December issues of the Vote which was published by the Women's Freedom League from 1909-33. This is the advent of the new suffragists
The aim is, through examination of content and coverage from December issues,  to gain some insight into the concerns and interests of women suffrage campaigners during the early 20th century. This title was choosen as it is on open access via Google Newspapers.


The Women's Freedom League was formed in 1907 by former members of the Women's Social and Political Union who sought to create an activist organisation militating for change but without advocating violence.
The WFL favoured peaceful lawbreaking such as demonstration, disruption, and refusal to pay taxes and complete the census. They backed the continuation of the campaign for votes during the First World War. Archival papers are held at the Womens Library@LSE
The constitution can be viewed online via the British Library website. 
Its newspaper the Vote was first published in October 1909. It was a response to publications from other suffrage organisations,  notably the WSPU's Votes for Women. While it was intended to publicise the campaign It also had a wider concern for supporting women's rights in society in general
In the first edition Charlotte Despard wrote 
.".we hope and believe that through its pages the public will come to
understand what the Parliamentary Franchise means to us women. Now it
will be both a symbol of citizenship and the key to a door opening out on
such service to the community as we have never yet been allowed to render, " October 30th 1909
Further good sources on the history of the WFL include:
The Evolution of women’s political identities in the Womens Freedom League 1907-1930
 Claire Eustance. PhD thesis1993, University of York 

The women's suffrage movement : a reference guide, 1866-1928
Elizabeth Crawford. The author also has a website with a useful blog - Woman and her sphere

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