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The Women's Library

The Women's Library

Custodianship of The Women’s Library passed to LSE at the end of December 2012 and LSE is currently running the Library from the Aldgate site. The Library is now in a transitional period while the planning and implemention of the transfer to LSE Library is underway. Please see LSE library for details or contact us at

The Women's Library was established in 1926 as the Library of the London Society for Women's Service, formerly Suffrage. In 1953 both the Society and the Library were renamed after its leader, Millicent Garrett Fawcett. The Fawcett Library was run by the Fawcett Society until 1977 when it moved to London Guildhall University. In 2002 the Library was re-housed in a purpose built repository.

The Women's Library is the oldest and most extensive collection of women's history in the UK. A very substantial proportion of our holdings cannot be located in any other UK institution. We are a cross-domain cultural resource providing a single point of access to:

  • printed collection containing over 60,000 books and pamphlets dating from 1592, over 3,000 periodicals dating from 1745, and unique ephemera from over 4,000 women's organisations;
  • over 460 archives dating from 1770;
  • over 5,000 objects dating from 1786.

We cover a wealth of subjects: women's rights, suffrage, sexuality, health, education, employment, reproductive rights, the family, and the home. The emphasis is primarily on women in the UK, but some international material is included. The core collections, based on material relating to women’s campaigns for suffrage, have developed over time to encompass an exceptional range of material on women’s campaigning, including 2nd wave, and now 3rd wave, feminism. We hold archives ranging from the papers of the famous suffragette Emily Wilding Davison to the Greenham Common Women.

The Library archives document women's lives and the issues that have concerned and interested them primarily from mid 19th century to the present day. The archives vary in extent from one file to hundreds of boxes. Included are personal papers and records of organisations relating to subjects such as suffrage, equality in the workplace, peace, suppression of traffic in persons, single parenthood, women clergy and home economics. Records of research and oral history projects are also collected. The material is predominantly in English, although over 22 languages are represented in the archives.

Special features: Dirty Linen, The Big Draw, The Great War, British Women's Emigration, Typewriters and Office Machines, Tuberculosis


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