Minutes of the Executive Committee (1952-1959, 1969) and AGM (1957-1964, 1967), Chairperson's reports (1953, 1956-9), papers related to the formation of the Council of Married Women, correspondence files including papers and press cuttings (1944-1970), Bills, Acts and Parliamentary file (1956-1971) and file of evidence to the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce (1952-1956), financial papers (1961-1969) and publication including the 'Bulletin'
The papers of Helena Normanton are also held in the Women's Library: see GB 0106 7/HLN
This collection is open for consultation. Intending readers are advised to contact The Women's library in advance of their first visit.
Administrative / biographical background:
The Council of Married Women was established in 1952 as a result of disagreements within the Married Women's Association. The Council's president (Helena Normanton), Chair (Doreen Gorsky), Deputy Chair (Lady Helen Nutting) and Hon. Secretary (Evelyn Hamilton) left identical positions in the older organisation over the issue of certain members opposition to Normanton's draft evidence to the Royal Commission on Marriage and Divorce. The new group's aims were to support the institution of marriage and the principle of equality between the two partners at the same time as promoting legislation for equal economic and legal status for wives', mothers and widows, especially in the case of separation or divorce. Membership was open to women who were or had been married. After the Royal Commission had taken place, their main action was focused on attempting to have a Private Members Bill passed to give a wife a statutory right to a portion of the family income after all expenses had been paid. Through the 1960s the Council encountered financial difficulties and the organisation's work largely devolved upon Lady Nutting alone. The organisation was wound up in 1969.