The Richard Burton Archives hold various collections that are of relevance to the study of women’s history. These cover:
Dancing on the silos, Greenham Common, 1 January 1983 (Ref. DC3/14/1/67)
Photograph by Raissa Page. Protected by copyright. Not to be reproduced without permission, please contact Richard Burton Archives
Association of Women Science Teachers (Welsh Branch)
This branch was formed in the 1920s by a group of women science teachers. This collection covers the period 1921 to 1965 and includes:
Amongst the records is the first minute book of the Association. The inaugural meeting took place at University College Swansea (now Swansea University) on 7 May 1921. The minute books show the respect that the Association received from local industry and the interest shown by the members in the ways in which science contributed to contemporary business success.
Minute books of the Association of Women Science Teachers (Welsh Branch), 1950s (Ref. SWCC/MNA/TUG/12)
Ruby Graham (nee Joseph) (b.1905) was a student at University College of Swansea between 1922-1925. Her personal collection provides a glimpse into student academic and social life in the 1920s and includes:
It also includes testimonials from her later time at Cardiff University. She went on to become a producer at Swansea Little Theatre.
See the guide to University Collections for more information about institutional, students' union and personal archives.
Members of Cardiff Independant Labour Party Women's Group campaigning in a Municipal Election before the First World War, c.1905 (Ref. SWCC/PHO/PC/10/4)
Annie Powell (1906-1986) was a teacher, councillor and mayor. She joined the Communist Party of Great Britain and stood for election as the Communist party candidate on a number of occasions. In 1979 she was appointed Wales’ first communist mayor for Rhondda.
Newport Labour Party
The Newport and District Labour Party (later known as Newport Labour Party) was founded in February 1913 as part of the growing labour movement within Wales. The Party attracted support from a variety of groups which were committed to the constitution and progress of the Labour Party. Newport Labour Party attracted members from a large cross-section of the local population through its emphasis on social events such as dances. This resulted in a high percentage of women members, who soon became the driving force of the Party.
Amy Dillwyn (1845-1935) was a novelist, businesswoman, and social benefactor. On the death of her father, she inherited a spelter works and successfully rescued the business. Dillwyn employed a manager but herself attended the office, dealing with correspondence and overseeing the finances. She personally led a trip to Algeria in 1905 in search of high quality calamine. She campaigned for the vote for women and was a benefactor of a number of local organisations such as the South Wales Nursing Association.
Her papers include her diaries and notebooks, as well as personal correspondence. The collection (Ref. 2012/11) is currently uncatalogued but the Archives team can advise on content.
Pages from Dillwyn's 1863-1917 diary (when she was active in business) covering the First World War have been digitised and made available on Cymru1914.
A Companies House blog post describes her importance as an early businesswoman.
Entries in the diary of Amy Dillwyn recording going into the office and business, 1898 (Ref. 2012/11/6)
Other records relating to women in industry
Cwmdonkin Shelter, Swansea
Cwmdonkin Shelter was opened on 7 May 1886. The Shelter was a temporary refuge for pregnant, poor, destitute girls and was run by women prominent within Swansea society (the Ladies Committee). Its stated aim was to rescue and reform but also to prevent girls from falling to temptations. Girls were rescued from the docks, police courts and workhouse and were admitted regardless of their religion. Girls were taught practical skills, helped to return to their communities, sent to long-stay training homes or sent for emigration to Canada to begin new lives. The impact of the National Health Service and the growth of social services saw the Shelter develop into a mother and baby home. It closed in 1970.
The collection includes:
Extract from Cwmdonkin Shelter mission statement, 1922 (Ref. LAC/22/B/2)
East Side District Nursing Association
The East Side District Nursing Association was founded in 1905. District nurses provided an alternative nursing service for those who could not afford private home nursing. The administration of district nurses prior to 1948 was the responsibility of the county Medical Officer of Health and the nursing superintendent of the County Nursing Association, often a ‘Queen’s Nurse’.
The reports and summaries of work carried out by the Association can be found in the Henry Leyshon collection. Henry Leyshon of Swansea was a committee member, 1906-1912.
Margaret Kirkland (Women's Freedom League)
Miss Margaret Kirkland was a member of the Women's Freedom League Swansea Branch in the 1930s. She was President of the local branch of the Soroptimists and President of the Swansea Chamber of Trade in 1934. The collection is a rich resource for researching the fight for women’s suffrage including material related to the Swansea branch of the Women’s Freedom League and other feminist and liberal movements.
'The Vote' , 4 July 1930 (Ref. LAC/58/A/4)
Raissa Page (Cleone Alexandra Smilis) was Canadian and moved to the UK in the 1950s. After a career as a social worker in London, specialising in looked after children, Page became a documentary photographer in her mid-forties. Her photographic work was greatly informed by her feminism and political beliefs. She undertook commission work for many publications including Social Work Today, The Observer Magazine and Spare Rib, amongst many others. In 1983 she became a founder member of Format, an all female photographic agency.
Photograph of Raissa Page, early 1980s, photographer unknown (Ref. DC3/16/1/213)
The collection consists mainly of photographic prints, negatives and transparencies produced between 1977 and 1993. Subjects include:
To see more examples of Raissa Page's work have a look at the project blog posts and Twitter feed (@RaissaPage).
Miners' Welfare Associations and Workmen's Institutes
The register of hall bookings for Ystradgynlais Miners’ Welfare Association, 1938-1940, includes entries for regular meetings of the Yniscedwyn Sick Fund, Yniscedwyn Lodge, Ystradfawr Lodge, Trades & Labour Council, Women’s Section (Labour Party), Child Welfare Clinic, Haslem System of Dressmaking etc and casual use of hall by organisations such as the Women’s Voluntary Defence Service, Nursing Association, Spanish Aid etc. (Ref. SWCC/MNA/I/41/46).
Women's Co-operative Guilds
In 1883 the Women’s Co-operative Guild was created. The Guild was set up to spread information on the purpose of co-operatives and their value to the community and the nation as a whole; it also promoted women and improved their standing in society.