British Women’s Organisations 1825 – 1960

Peter Gordon and David Doughan, Woburn Press

Now out as paperback! A good decision, as this dictionary should be as widespread as possible. A wide range of women’s organisations is introduced and explained here: the content includes not only political groups such as the suffrage groups, the ‘Women’s Anti Opium Urgency Committee’ or the ‘Rational Dress Society’, bur also professional organisations such as the ‘Women’s Engineering Society’, sports clubs like the ‘Ladies Cyclists Association’ and religious groups. Most of the organisations are introduced with their aims, prominent members, the date they were founded, location and activities.

Funnily enough even some men’s groups are mentioned here, mainly societies which were formed to participate in women’s concerns, often to support women’s suffrage, such as the ‘Men’s Committee for Justice to Women’. The book, sadly, does not include organisations which are either international women’s groups, run by government, concerned with mental health or girls’ schools. The book also includes an extensive bibliography which gives the reader a glimpse about how difficult and intensive the research must have been for the authors, and also an index to entries, which comprises not only all the groups, but also personal names, place names and subjects. The introduction gives also valuable historical background information. This book is factual and objective. It is a good, well-researched book, written by experts, and recommendable to anyone, who has an interest in women’s history.

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