Catalogue description Records of the Cambridge Women's Suffrage Association (later the Cambridge Standing Committee of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship) and the Cambridge and District Women Citizens' Association

This record is held by Cambridgeshire Archives

Details of 455
Reference: 455
Title: Records of the Cambridge Women's Suffrage Association (later the Cambridge Standing Committee of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship) and the Cambridge and District Women Citizens' Association

There are 168 items.


Listed by Christopher Dobb and P.C. Saunders February-May 1976

Date: 1884-1939

The scheme used for listing is the standard one of the time, identifying as prefix codes, Q for records of voluntary organisations and Z for miscellaneous items.

Held by: Cambridgeshire Archives, not available at The National Archives
Language: English

Cambridge Womens' Suffrage Association, Cambridgeshire

National Union for Societies for Equal Citizenship, Cambridge Standing Committee, Cambridgeshire

Cambridge and District Women Citizens' Association, Cambridgeshire

Physical description: 3 sub sub fonds, 8 series
Administrative / biographical background:

The records were deposited by the executor of F.R. Salter, Esq., President of Magdalene College Cambridge, economic historian, in February and April 1968. It is not known how they came into Mr Salter's possession, but as an historian who was politically active as a Liberal in the town (as was his wife) and was prominent in adult education, he would be certain to have known the Miss G.M. Johnson who figures prominently in them and would have been an obvious person to whom to give them to ensure their preservation.


The Cambridge Association for Women's Suffrage (C.W.S.A.) was an independent, non militant (suffragist) organisation founded in 1884, when it immediately affiliated itself to the (Central) National Association for Women's Suffrage (N.A.W.S.). In 1889, when the latter adopted a new set of rules, the Cambridge Association withdrew its affiliation. Nine years later, in 1897, it re-affiliated to the Central Committee of the N.A.W.S., and simultaneously became a member of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies (N.U.W.S.S.).


The C.W.S.A. adjusted its constitution on 24 March, 1919 as a consequence of the limited parliamentary enfranchisement of women and the new directions of women's movements. It assumed a new title: The Cambridge Association for the Political Equality of Women (C.A.P.E.W.) with the principal object of securing female suffrage on the same terms as men. On 13th March, 1920 this Association was formally dissolved and its powers delegated to a society called The Cambridge Standing Committee for Equal Citizqnship, affiliated to the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship. The latter organisation was the successor of the N.U.W.S.S. formed after the extension of the franchise in 1919 to which the C.A.P.E.W. had also been affiliated.


The passing of the Representation of the People Act of 1918 was also marked by the establishment of Women Citizens' Associations in accordance with the programme of the N.U.S.S. In Cambridge the W.C.A. was apparently formed from the Local Government Committee (or Society) of the National Union of Women Workers to which the C.W.S.A. had been affiliated in 1918 and largely concerned itself with furthering the involvement of women in municipal affairs. At the transformation of the C.A.P.E.W. into the Cambridge Standing Committee of the N.U.S.E.C. in 1920 the society's affiliation to the W.C.A. lapsed, but the membership of the two bodies remained closely linked. In particular, Miss G. M. Johnson was for much of the 1920's secretary of both the Standing Committee of the N.U.S.E.C. and the Executive Committee of the W.C.A., as well as (for a short time) secretary of the Fitzwilliam Ward Committee of the latter. The papers of the two organisations are consequently somewhat intermixed.


The West Cambridgeshire Women's Suffrage Society was an independent organisation, but many of its members also belonged to the C.W.S.A., and the one item in this collection from the society presumably owes its existence with these records to this.

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