Untold lives blog

22 posts categorized "Propaganda"

21 January 2014

George Orwell’s loft

Today is the anniversary of the death on 21 January 1950 of Eric Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell.  Andy Simons tells us about Orwell's collection of pamphlets which now have an online inventory to help researchers explore this fascinating resource.

George Orwell’s collection of mostly political ephemera was an important barometer of the social changes of the 1930s and 1940s, and a measure of his influences during those decades.  While Orwell’s personal papers went to University College London and the National Archives, his miscellaneous materials are held by the British Library.  Totalling over 2700 items, a full inventory of Orwell’s collection of pamphlets is now available via the British Library’s website.

Orwell was not a writer of ‘bestselling’ books until the end of his life, after the Second World War.  He became known as a journalist, a critic of other people’s writings and a word-portraitist of the landscape of politics.  It is likely he never passed up the opportunity to acquire pamphlets of any persuasion.  He wryly observed in The Tribune that the pamphleteer’s road was paved by a “complete disregard for fairness or accuracy” (8 December 1944).   Perhaps the most appealing aspect of his pamphlets collection is that he wasn’t Hoovering them up to form a George Orwell Archive; he considered them as a spectrum of thought that was deserving of preserving.    

While Orwell could not acquire and preserve the thoughts of every political entity, those caught in his net were numerous.  He documented the major political parties and the better known minor ones that didn’t figure much electorally, such as The Communist Party of Great Britain, and The Socialist Party.  Orwell was especially strong in acquiring the ephemera of the fringe Left, but any non-mainstream organisation was worthy of attention, for example The Central Board for Conscientious Objectors and The Society of Individualists.  He was keen on foreign publications too, including much from Moscow.  

The author’s interest in non-human animals is revealed including articles from issues of The Smallholder and The Farmer and Stock-Breeder.  His wife Eileen worked for the Ministry of Food and so they retained a range of ‘war cookery’ guides.  And, given his pulmonary problems from tuberculosis, one shouldn’t be surprised that he read Smokeless Air: The Smoke Abatement Journal.

  Pamphlet The War in Wax
1899.SS.35 (15)  Noc

Perhaps the oddest item is a four-page pamphlet from January 1945, The War in Wax, an attempt to get shoppers in London’s Oxford Street to buy tickets to a twisted version of Madame Tussauds.  This promised paying customers an experience of "The horrors of the German Concentration Camp," “Tree-Hangings,” “Stamping to death,” and, on the last page, a children’s section of mechanical moving figures including Cinderella, Laurel & Hardy, Disney characters, Bing Crosby, and even Mae West.   This so-called attraction was too absurd for Orwell not to share, so the concept had a walk-on role as Ingsoc propaganda in 1984.  

Orwell’s heaps of pamphlets informed his writing, both fiction and non fiction. He took pride in his squirrelling-away of pamphlets, “political, religious and what-not”.  In 1949, he estimated that this hoard numbered 1200-2000, but even the higher figure was an underestimation.  He wrote that “a few of them must be great rarities” and they were “bound to be of historical interest in 50 years time.”  In line with most of his considerations, he wasn’t wrong.

Andy Simons
Curator, Printed Historical Sources

Further reading
Inventory of George Orwell’s pamphlet collection

A longer version of George Orwell’s Loft

George Orwell  - help  for researchers

09 January 2014

George IV in Highland Dress

The Prince Regent became King George IV on 29 January 1820 and was crowned on 19 July the same year.  The coronation provided the occasion for a display of unparalleled magnificence – not least in the new monarch’s dress.  George IV was keen for further opportunities to display himself in royal state to his subjects.  In 1821 he visited both Ireland and Hanover.  In 1822 it was the turn of Scotland.

Portrait of George IV when Prince of WalesNocPortrait of George IV (when Prince of Wales) from The British Gallery of Contemporary Portraits. London, 1822.  (Tab.1249.a.)

The Scottish visit was recorded in some detail by Robert Mudie, at that time a reporter for the London newspaper the Morning Chronicle, in A Historical Account of His Majesty’s Visit to Scotland published soon afterwards.  Mudie provided a minutely detailed account, from the King’s journey to Greenwich to embark for his voyage to Edinburgh until his departure from the Scottish capital for his return by sea to London.

Apart from the ecstatic reception on his arrival in Edinburgh, one of the high points of the visit was the King’s levee held at the palace of Holyrood on 17 August 1822.  The Caledonian Mercury for 19 August provided a report, declaring:

On Saturday, his Majesty held his first levee in the Scottish metropolis, which was most splendidly attended, and we hear that the numbers exceeded those of any levee ever held in London.

There followed a lengthy list of those who ‘had the honour of being presented to his Majesty’.  According to Mudie ‘The King himself remarked at the close, that there must have passed him not less than 2000 persons’.

George IV at Leith - arriving by boatNocDetail from a plate in Mudie, A Historical Account of His Majesty’s Visit to Scotland, ‘TheLanding of King George IV at Leith, 15th August 1822’. (811.d.33)

George IV took care to be appropriately attired.  According to the Caledonian Mercury ‘His Majesty was superbly dressed in the Highland costume, with trews of the Stuart tartan. … the manly and graceful figure of his Majesty was finely displayed in this martial dress’.  London’s Morning Post for 22 August added a few details - ‘his Majesty was dressed in a full Highland uniform, and wore the broad sword, pistols, and philebeg [a belted plaid]’.  The King was painted in his Highland dress some years later by Sir David Wilkie - the portrait is now in the Royal Collection.  Wilkie took care to emphasise George IV’s ‘manly and graceful figure’ and to depict the many rich jewels that formed part of the King’s exuberantly luxurious appearance.


Moira Goff
Curator Printed Historical Sources 1501-1800 Cc-by

Visit our  exhibition Georgians Revealed

Further reading:
Robert Mudie. A Historical Account of His Majesty’s Visit to Scotland. Edinburgh, 1822.
Stephen Parissien. George IV: the Grand Entertainment. London, 2001.
E.A. Smith. George IV. New Haven and London, 1999.


31 December 2013

Alcohol’s Alphabet

New Year’s Eve seems an appropriate occasion to share something on the subject of temperance from the British Library’s collections. Alcohol’s Alphabet was published in London in the 1890s by the National Temperance League. Copies could be bought in bulk for distribution: 100 for one shilling, 1000 for six shillings.

Four drunks at a table with a spilled bottle of wine and two unopened bottles of champagne in a wine bucketFrom Historia de una mujer: album de cincuenta cromos RB.37.c.45 plate 18 Images Online Noc

A is for Alcohol, a deadly, poisonous thing,
    Which "biteth like a serpent", and doth "like an adder sting".
B is for Beer, a drink which English workmen love;
    And Brandy – stay of sickness: both not friends but foes oft prove.
C is for Cider, which a harmless drink is deemed,
    Yet which may work more mischief than the drinkers e’er have dreamed.
D is for Danger, which is always close at hand,
    When among alcoholic drinks weak human creatures stand.
E is for Enmity, which arises from the strife
    Engendered by the exciting draughts, and blights full many a life.
F is for the Fetters, which all drink-bound slaves must wear,
    Which heavier grow as time goes on, and drag them to despair.
G is for the golden Grain God sends to bless and feed,
    Which men pervert and change until it brings but great need.
H is for Hunger – the poor children’s dreaded foe:
    What pangs, through parent’s selfishness, e’en tender babes oft know.
I is for Idleness, which follows in drink’s train
    When men would rather tippling go than at their work remain.
J is for Jollity, which drinkers say they find –
    Though far from "jolly" are the aches and pains oft left behind.
K is for the sad death Knell, which solemnly doth sound,
    Telling when victims of the drink an early grave have found.
L is for the Licences, procured to buy and sell;
    Too often dealers in strong drink the drunkards’ list will swell.
M is for the Mourning which is heard all o’er our land
    O’er loved ones who on ruin’s brink with tottering footsteps stand.
N is for Nectar, to which men will liken wine,
    When on the glittering festal board its sparkling beauties shine.
O is for drink’s Odour, to the drunkard sweetest scent
    It tempts him past resistance when to drink he had not meant.
P is for the Prison, in which helpless captives lie
    Who’re found "incapable" in the street when the "man in blue" comes by.
Q is for Quarrels, which are rife where drink doth reign,
    And often end in fatal strife which brings the convict’s chain.
R is for the deadly Rum, which its thousands still will slay
    While it – with Gin – acknowledged is as the tippler’s cherished stay.
S is for the trusted Stout, which as medicine is given;
    It lends false strength, perchance, but oft to drunkenness has driven.
T is for the Tap, from which the toper is supplied:
    Frequently is it running fast, but ne’er for long is dried.
U is for Uselessness, to which drink will quickly bring,
    All who for strength in life and work to it for help will cling.
V is for the Vices which are nourished by strong drink
    Which will not vanish till the power of King Alcohol shall sink.
W is for Wretchedness, which the heart and home pervades
    In which this foe’s destructive hand has made its fearful raids.
X is the well-known X X – poor letter! much abused
    By being in the brewing trade as a distinction used.
Y is for life’s Youthtide, which should be bright and glad,
    But oft is rendered – by strong drink- gloomy and dark and sad.
Z is for the Zeal with which men seek their thirst to allay.
    If they would but as zealous be to keep from drink away,
    The evils which this alphabet has feebly tried to trace
    No longer would on our loved land affix such dire disgrace.

Margaret Makepeace
Curator, East India Company Records Cc-by

Further reading
Alcohol’s Alphabet by B.E.S. - reference 1870.d.1.(168.)
Digitised collection items about temperance from the Evanion Collection on Online Gallery
For example -
Poster for Woodgrange Total Abstinence Society 1882
Evan.5001  Noc


23 December 2013

Dickens, Esther and Smallpox: A Bleak Prognosis

A Dickensian story for Christmas week - but perhaps not as you might expect!  We shift the focus from seasonal Pickwickian jollity to Bleak House and smallpox.

Midway through Bleak House, a simple act of charity lands heroine Esther Summerson with a potentially life-threatening disease.  It looks like smallpox, reads like smallpox and, in one particularly memorable sequence, and even smells like smallpox.  But for all this, Dickens never categorically states that it is indeed smallpox which ruins Esther’s complexion and hastens Jo the Crossing Sweeper to his overly sentimental death. 

Woman sitting by bed of sick young woman'Nurse and Patient' by H K Browne from Charles Dickens, Bleak House (London Bradbury & Evans, 1853) Noc

There is something of a trend of medical ambiguity to be found throughout Dickens.  Various academics have argued that A Tale of Two City’s Sydney Carton is a syphilitic and that Miss Havisham is mentally ill.  But in Bleak House especially, descriptions of the ravages of Esther’s disease are enough to arouse the liveliest of suspicions.  At various stages throughout her illness, Esther finds it difficult to speak (a symptom which could be attributed to smallpox pustules lining her throat) and goes temporarily blind.  Furthermore, she is so badly scarred for the remainder of the novel that a previous suitor, Mr Guppy, withdraws an offer of marriage at the sight of her.  However ambiguous Dickens chooses to be, Esther’s mystery disease very much mirrors Victorian medical knowledge on smallpox, from its fluid-filled pustules, corneal ulceration and mouth blistering to its deforming after-effects and severe contagiousness.

Even so, this retrospective diagnosis is not without its problems.  Why, after all, would a middle-class woman such as Esther not have been vaccinated against the disease, since cowpox vaccinations had already been proving successful over half a century earlier?  Certainly, Dickens himself was a vociferous supporter of the practice, having frequently used his publication All The Year Round as a platform from which to advocate mandatory vaccination and demonstrate his extensive knowledge of the subject.  In an memorable 1860 volume, Dickens waxes lyrical for several paragraphs on Edward Jenner’s technique of using cowpox as a non-infectious smallpox vaccine and is particularly enthusiastic on the way smallpox matter is changed by 'passage through the lower organisation of the cow'.

  Free smallpox vaccinations being administeredFree smallpox vaccination from Petit Journal (1905) ©De Agostini/The British Library Board  Images Online Noc

However, as Mary Wilson Carpenter points out in her book Health, Medicine and Society in Victorian England, vaccination was in no way universal towards the tail end of the nineteenth century and neither did it provide infallible protection against smallpox.  She notes that 'middle- and upper-class people were not necessarily more likely to have been vaccinated than poor people', claiming that Esther’s illness is consequently a 'very realistic representation of smallpox as experienced in Victorian England'. 

In 1853, the same year that Bleak House was published, Britain passed the Compulsory Vaccination Act, which made free vaccination obligatory for all infants under four months. The punishment for not complying was ostensibly a fine but, as Dickens himself wrote in All the Year Round, a lack of enforcement quickly led to the law being flouted: 'At first the act was readily obeyed, and deaths from small-pox fell to one hundred and fifty-two in the million. Then, it was found that nobody was charged with the enforcement of the law, or with the recovery of penalties.  Its coercive power was therefore at an end. This oversight has yet to be remedied'.  With this in mind, it becomes very easy to argue that Dickens’ representation of an unvaccinated Esther succumbing particularly gruesomely to a disease resembling smallpox could well have been an emotive dig at the failure of Compulsory Vaccinations to be properly enforced.

Julia Armfield
Former Intern, Printed Historical Sources

Further Reading:
Mary Wilson Carpenter, Health, Medicine and Society in Victorian England (California, 2009)

David Bevan, Literature and Sickness, (Amsterdam: 1993)

Karie Youngdahl, The Stranger in the Mirror in Bleak House

23 August 2013

Bournville – A Confection of Industrial Relations

In the British Library’s stall of social history, the curious Cadbury company provides a chocolate box of interests.  The Cadbury family of Birmingham grew their cocoa products empire throughout the 19th century and this led them to building not only a factory but a whole factory town.  In fact, Bournville was a conspicuously composed community that worked wonderfully. 

By the 1930s, the company’s complex of neighbourhoods hired 9,000 workers but the Quaker ethos of the owners gave the staff, and their families, a wide range of social services that would not have been affordable by local government.  You probably know that Cadbury’s provided housing, classroom education, health care, swimming and other sports, and music.  But they ran summer camps for boys, a seaside holiday camp for families, Continental holidays, and the firm even taught adults Esperanto!

Photo of the school band
From pamphlets about the Bournville Works (BL, 08248.m.9.) Noc

In 1934’s English Journey travelogue, J B Priestley appreciated the paternalist benevolence that the company served up, but he still thought it a politically sour spoonful.  Perhaps the lack of even one public house offended his nature (Bournville’s still pub-less).   But if you want to form your own opinion of Cadbury’s town built of cocoa beans, the British Library offers many morsels of its history. 

The Bournville reading room had “every kind of newspaper and magazine.” While it’s unlikely they stocked the Communist Party’s Daily Worker, the jazz fans’ weekly Melody Maker, or any timely tip-sheet for horse racing aficionados, it was probably a good resource nonetheless.

In 1936 Cadbury’s published a magazine, The Cococub News (P.P.5793.bch) and many pamphlets, including a generously illustrated guide to the factory and the lifestyle of their workers’ community (YD.2013.b.490).  The Library has a collection of similar items, which form a good sampler of their works, 1913-1948 (08248.m.9).  And the Bournville Village Trust today publishes In View (ZK.9.b.29447).

In the wake of interest in the Cadbury legacy are two recent novels from Pan Books : Annie Murray’s The Bells of Bournville Green (LT.2009.x.517) and Chocolate Girls (H.2003/1412).  Modern overviews of the company can be found in Deborah Cadbury’s Chocolate Wars : From Cadbury to Kraft – 200 Years of Sweet Success and Bitter Rivalry (YC.2010.a.15674), Paul Chrystal’s Cadbury and Fry Through Time (YK.2013.a.9579), and John Bradley’s Cadbury’s Purple Reign : The Story Behind Chocolate’s Best-Loved Brand (YC.2008.b.1108).  But for an acrid taste of the supply chain, there’s Catherine Higgs’ Chocolate Islands : Cocoa, Slavery and Colonial Africa (YC.2013.a.4010).

Andy Simons, Printed Historical Sources, 1914-present  Cc-by


09 July 2013

German Propaganda in Sharjah

One night in June 1940, ‘Abd al-Razzaq Razuqi, the British Residency Agent in Sharjah put on a disguise and walked to the palace of Shaikh Sultan bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the ruler of Sharjah. After hearing reports that the Shaikh was playing German government radio broadcasts in Arabic so loudly that they could be heard 200 yards away, Razuqi - who is usually referred to as Abdur Razzaq in the India Office Records - wanted to establish for himself if the rumours were true.

After his visit Razuqi wrote to the British Political Agent in Bahrain, Hugh Weightman, explaining that “a large crowd gathers there [the palace] to hear the German news” and that “some people had been talking freely in the town about the mighty power of Germany and the collapse of France which would soon be followed by the complete crush of Britain”. He also reported that the slogans ‘Long live Hitler’ and ‘Right is with Germany’ had been chalked on walls in the town. Razuqi established that the primary source of this anti-British sentiment was the Shaikh’s secretary, Abdullah bin Faris. Razuqi wrote that although the Secretary was full of praise for the British government to his face, “behind the curtain” he had induced ordinary people under his influence to spread rumours about the victories of the Germans.

Although reports of German radio broadcasts in Arabic and the existence of pro-German sentiment in a desert town on the Persian Gulf coast may seem incongruous, given the large-scale propaganda efforts that the German government directed towards the Middle East during World War II, they are not in fact surprising. Between 1939 and 1945, the German government broadcast Arabic language programmes to the Middle East and North Africa seven days a week.

The Arabic broadcasts on German radio presented the Nazi regime as staunch supporters of anti-imperialism, especially against Britain. Unsurprisingly they found a receptive ear amongst individuals under the indirect control of British colonial authorities; and at a time when – after the fall of France in May 1940 – the prospect of Britain losing the war against Germany was real. Razuqi and his superiors were fully aware of the importance of quelling any anti-British/pro-German sentiment and took the matter seriously. Razuqi confronted the Shaikh about his activities, and demanded an explanation.

Shaikh Sultan's letter to British agent proclaiming his loyalty to Britain July 1940
IOR/R/15/1/281 Shaikh Sultan sends letter to British agent proclaiming his loyalty to Britain July 1940  Noc

Responding in July 1940, Shaikh Sultan sent a letter to Weightman proclaiming his absolute loyalty to Britain and wholly denying the accusations made against his secretary bin Faris. The Shaikh stated that “under all circumstances in this war we are the enemies of Germany and Italy and their followers”.

In October 1940, Razuqi reported to Weightman that after his warnings the Shaikh was now “avoiding all talks and topics about the Germans and Italians and is doing his best to show that he is the most loyal and sincere friend of the British government”.

Razuqi reports that the Shaikh and his secretary now refrain from Pro-Nazi talk
IOR/R/15/1/281  Razuqi reports that the Shaikh and his secretary now refrain from Pro-Nazi talk  Noc

This incident illustrates not only the surprising geographical and linguistic extent of German propaganda efforts during World War II, but also how dangerous British authorities considered such efforts, even in far-flung parts of its global empire, thousands of miles away from continental Europe, the main field of conflict at that time.

Louis Allday, Gulf History Specialist       Tweet @Louis_Allday
British Library/Qatar Foundation Partnership

Qatar Digital LibraryCc-by

Gulf History Project

25 June 2013

Sir Lewis Pelly, supporter of women’s suffrage

On Easter Sunday 1892 Sir Lewis Pelly and his wife Amy were reading an article from a journal The Nineteenth Century.  This was to be the last thing that Sir Lewis read before his death five days later on 22 April 1892.

The article, written by Clara Elizabeth Collet, was entitled ‘Prospects of marriage for women’. Clara Collet (1860-1948) was a feminist, social economist and statistician who championed women’s education and employment through her positions with the Board of Trade and her influence with government committees. She was the daughter of Collet Dobson Collet a radical journalist and campaigner for freedom of press who counted Karl Marx among his friends, and Clara was for many years a close friend of Marx’s daughter Eleanor.

Sir Lewis Pelly (1825-1892) was an army and political officer in India. His private papers are held by the British Library and are currently being digitised as part of the Gulf History Project. Pelly joined the East India Company’s Bombay Army in 1840 and rose through the ranks serving in India, East Africa, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, his longest serving appointment being as Political Resident in the Persian Gulf 1862-1872. He retired from the Indian Civil Service in 1877.

Pelly’s interest in the women’s suffrage movement was most likely influenced by his wife. In 1878 he married Amy Henrietta Lowder, the daughter of Rev John Lowder, British chaplain in Shanghai and step-daughter of the diplomatist Sir Rutherford Alcock, the first British consul-general in Japan. In 1885 Pelly was elected as the Conservative Member of Parliament for North Hackney and began to use his position within the House of Commons to assist the movement in campaigning for a Women’s Suffrage Bill. His intention was to ensure that enough MPs would support the bill’s passage through the House of Commons.

Cover of pamphlet for National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies
Noc   National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies from BL,8413.k.5 Pamphlets and Leaflets (London, 1909).  Images Online    


In 1886 Pelly attended the AGM of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage. He not only occupied a seat on the stage alongside Mrs Fawcett and other leading female campaigners but also spoke of his desire “to see the question of Women’s Suffrage brought before the Houses of Parliament as soon as possible” (London Standard, 16 Jul 1886).

The choice of reading material on that Easter Sunday suggests that his interest extended beyond simply supporting the Women’s Suffrage Bill to wider matters of women’s education, work and marriage prospects. Clara Collet’s article looked at census figures and other statistical information regarding unmarried women in England and Wales, their actual prospects of marriage based on their age, and their long-term work based prospects should they remain unmarried. Her investigations into these questions raised some interesting issues in relation to women’s welfare ranging from the role of trade unions in protecting young girls from overwork in factories to the need for young women of middle class families to accept they might not always be able to marry and to start insisting on more suitable levels of pay in order to sustain themselves in life.

Clara Collet also had links to India and the Indian Civil Service. Her 3x great uncle was Joseph Collet (1673-1725), President of Madras. After discovering his notebooks about his time in Madras she lectured in India on his life and saw the notebooks published in 1933.

Karen Stapley
Archival Specialist, Gulf History ProjectCc-by

Qatar Digital Library

Further reading:
Lewis Pelly Private Papers IOPP/Mss Eur F126/28
British Newspaper Archive
Biographical information on Clara Collet taken from The Women’s Library Special Collections Catalogue

21 June 2013

Eleanor Rathbone and women's rights in India

As well as being a successful campaigner for women’s rights in Britain and an Independent Member of Parliament, Eleanor Rathbone was involved in the discussions surrounding Indian constitutional reform in the early 1930s and was also passionately interested in the issue of child marriage in India.

Eleanor Rathbone submitted papers to the India Franchise Committee (1932) which was considering voting rights for women. Rathbone’s involvement here was controversial. By 1929, women held the provincial franchise in India on the same terms as men. However, as the franchise was based on property, it was heavily weighted in favour of men as few women in India owned property in their own right. The problem was colourfully illustrated in a ‘Memorandum on certain questions affecting the status and welfare of Indian women in the future constitution of India’, which was addressed to the Round Table Conference in London (1930), and to which Rathbone was a signatory:
“We are reminded here of Aesop’s fable of the Fox and the Stork: “Mr Reynard invited Mrs Stork to dinner. But she found that the feast consisted of broth served in a flat dish. Mr Reynard lapped up the broth easily with his flexible tongue. But Mrs Stork with her long beak could only peck at the dish and went hungry away.” So it has been in the past with the women of all countries; so it will be in the structure of India’s future constitution, if the needs of both sexes are not kept continually in mind by those who frame it”.

Round Table Conference, St. James's Palace, London 1930Images Online Foster Collection Photo 784/1(83) Round Table Conference, St. James's Palace, London. Noc

Rathbone believed that women should be regarded as joint owners of property with their husband, and that Indian women should have seats in the provincial assemblies reserved for them. Thus Rathbone found herself opposing the leading Indian feminists who wanted to remove the property qualification and who did not favour reserved seats for women.

This conflict can be clearly seen in the files of the India Franchise Committee. Rathbone tended to portray the Indian feminists as a minority group. Following a trip to India in early 1932 to gauge the views of Indian women, she stated in a letter to Lord Lothian, Chairman of the Committee: “I expect you found, as we did, that the demand of the All-India Women’s Conference for complete adult franchise and no reservation of seats for women, really represents a very small body of opinion.” In the notes of her trip she wrote: “We found practically no support for immediate direct adult franchise, except among the ladies of the A.I.W.C”, and “Among the women seen, I think at least four-fifths desired reservation and were usually quite clear and emphatic about it”.

By contrast, a memorandum submitted to the IFC by the All-India Women’s Conference stated their position clearly: “The A.I.W.C. as representing the thinking womanhood of India, is strongly of the opinion that no method other than that of adult franchise – by which is meant the right of every man or woman of the age of 21 to vote – without any special expedients will avail for the proper placing of this country on a truly democratic basis for the realisation of responsible government as denoted by the accredited phraseology of ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’”.

However Rathbone would ultimately play a large part in shaping the way women were incorporated into the new Government of India Act of 1935, especially with the introduction of reserved seats for women.

John O’Brien
Post 1858 India Office Records 

Further Reading:
Papers of the Indian Franchise Committee, Memoranda on Special Subjects - Women, 1930-1932 [IOR/Q/IFC/39]

Papers of the Indian Franchise Committee, File on the Position of Women, 1931-1932 [IOR/Q/IFC/49]

Government of India Act, 1935

Susan Pedersen, Eleanor Rathbone and the Politics of Conscience (Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 2004) [YC.2005.a.11379]


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