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Pankhurst, Emmeline and Christabel.

ARCHIVE: Correspondence and printed matter.


Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst:
Letters and Suffrage Publications
Pankhurst, Emmeline. Autograph Letter Signed "E. Pankhurst" to "Sir" [L. Alexander Gray]. Newton Abbot: January 9, 1908, one leaf Women's Social and Political Union stationery; bifolium; writing on three sides.  
Pankhurst writes formally to an unidentified "L. Alexander Gray" about finding ways of getting names on an unspecified petition. Interestingly, this letter was written ten days before Pankhurst and an associate were attacked and injured by a group of male Liberal supporters who thought Pankhurst's organization, the Women's Social and Political Union, had cost them a recent election. In this letter, she writes, in part, "…I think the petition could be obtained if at least the gentleman in each Centre would take charge of it. I will obtain the necessary forms if…people will do the work."
Together with:
Pankhurst, Emmeline. Autograph Letter Signed "E. Pankhurst" to "Mrs. [Eliza] Osborne." Rochester, [New York]: November 14, 1909; one leaf Women's Social and Political Union stationery; bifolium; writing on two sides.  
Pankhurst accepts an offer to speak at an unspecified event, and asks if she can bring her travelling companion along with her: "Miss Pethick, [who] is the sister of our national treasurer Ms. [Emmeline] Pethick Lawrence."
Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence, along with her husband Frederick Lawrence, was an active socialist who played a prominent role in the woman's suffrage movement. In 1912, both Emmeline Pankurst and Emmeline Pethick-Lawrence would be arrested and tried for their involvement in the Women's Social and Political Union's campaign of large-scale smashing of shop windows; Christabel Pankhurst, who by 1912 was the chief coordinator for the organization, would flee to Paris, where she directed WSPU strategy in exile.
Together with:
Pankhurst, Christabel. Autograph Letter Signed "Christabel Pankhurst" to "Sir." September 29, 1910; one leaf Women's Social and Political Union stationery; bifolium; writing on two sides; one small closed tear at crease.  
The younger Pankhurst writes a cover letter which accompanied an article submitted to The Times newspaper (not present). Her letter reads, "I shall be much obliged if you can find space for the enclosed in the columns of The Times. I may add that it has not been sent to any other paper."
Together with:
[ed. Prothero, G.W.] The Anti-Suffrage Review. No. 4. London: March 1909; two leaves, folded to make eight pages; text on all sides; moderately foxed at margins.
A copy of a publication put out by The Women's National Anti-Suffrage League, a predominantly female-led organization which claimed that the vast majority of women in Britain were not interested in having the vote and that there was a danger that a small group of organized women would force the government to change the electoral system.
This edition contains articles on the case for women in local government positions and five pages of "notes" including updates on anti-suffrage group updates from the surrounding areas. One piece, entitled "A Question to Politicians," begins:
Was there ever known an instance of political franchise being forced on a class of persons who not only do not ask for it, but who vehemently repudiate and resist it? An active minority of women, thrusting themselves into public notoriety in season and out of season, certainly demand votes. But the immense majority of women remain unmoved, whilst large organized bodies of women, under the lead of women most eminent in every social and intellectual quality, strenuously protest against votes as an injury to their whole sex.
Together with:
Porritt, Annie G. "The Causes of the Revolt of the Women in England." Hartford, Conn.: The Connecticut Woman Suffrage Association, [1912].
5.5 x 8.5" pamphlet; 8 pp.; stapled; with b&w photo of Emmeline Pankhurst on recto; titled edges foxed; mild creasing and wear throughout.
A brief history of the woman's movement in England beginning in 1870, detailing the English laws that barred women's equality and highlighting the key individuals responsible for making progress on the suffrage movement in Britain. Porritt begins the booklet with a sketch of Emmeline Pankhurst, of whom she writes:
In the minds of many Americans Mrs. Pankhurst is identified with stone-throwing, with attacks on policemen and Cabinet Ministers, with wild outbursts of hysteria and emotionalism, and in general with a line of conduct which they abhor and reprobate as being in the highest degree unwomanly and unladylike. Those who go to hear this famous Englishwoman, will see a dainty, well-dressed and very feminine looking lady of some fifty years young, with a quiet, forceful, well-bred manner, a delightfully clear and pure enunciation, a keen wit, and a wonderful power of holding her audience. They will find it difficult to connect this well-educated and cultured gentlewoman with riotous street scenes and assaults on the guardians of law and order…
Annie Porritt was a journalist and member of the Advisory Council of the Congressional Union for Women's Suffrage. She also edited the publishing company of the National American Woman Suffrage Association.
Christabel Pankhurst (1880-1958) was born in Manchester and became involved with the woman suffrage movement in England in 1901 when she joined the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (NUWSS). Her mother, Emmeline, and her sister, Sylvia, also joined the NUWSS, but soon the three Pankhurst women became dissatisfied with the organization and created the Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1903. WSPU membership rose dramatically after Christabel and friend Annie Kenny were arrested for disrupting a meeting of the Liberal Party and chose jail over a fine to make a political statement. After obtaining a law degree from Owens College in 1907, Christabel relocated from Manchester to London to work on the suffrage campaign there. Though Sylvia supported suffrage for all women and wanted to gain support especially among working class women, Christabel advocated limited suffrage for women only with property and money. This split in opinion divided the suffragists in London and resulted in the formation of the Women's Freedom League. Sylvia, however, remained a member of the WSPU out of loyalty to her mother and sister.
During World War I, Christabel and Emmeline formed the Women's Party. While the Party supported things such as equal pay for equal work, better divorce laws, and increased maternity benefits, it completely abandoned the socialist ideals that had once been at the center of the WSPU, such as support of trade unions. With the passage of the Qualification of Women Act in 1918, Christabel was one of 17 women to run for public office, representing the Women's Party, but was defeated two years running. In 1921, Christabel moved to the United States and became very active in the Second Adventist movement. There she wrote many books on the Second Coming, and though she returned to London in the 1930s, she moved back to America permanently upon the outbreak of World War II.   

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