Explore the lives of women at LSE through the years, and women’s stories in the archives and special collections held at LSE Library

  • Unfailing equanimity – Eve Evans, School Secretary 1940-1954

Unfailing equanimity – Eve Evans, School Secretary 1940-1954

  • March 18th, 2019

Between 1896 and 1954 the role of School Secretary, the senior administrator in the School, was held by three women apart from a brief period between 1938-1940. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, looks at the career of the last of these women, Eve Evans (1894-1971) who worked at the School from 1920 to 1954.

At the end of summer term 1954 […]

  • Votes for Women – a history on film

Votes for Women – a history on film

  • March 8th, 2019

This International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, watch a history of the women’s suffrage campaign and its legacy at LSE.

The Women’s Library and archives at LSE hold the story of the campaign for women’s suffrage, which resulted in the first votes for women. Watch this film to find out what happened, how we are commemorating their work on campus […]

  • Maureen Colquhoun – first openly gay woman in Parliament

Maureen Colquhoun – first openly gay woman in Parliament

  • February 13th, 2019

Women’s rights activist and former Labour Member of Parliament for Northampton North Maureen Colquhoun was elected to the House of Commons in 1974. She became the first openly gay woman to serve in Parliament after coming out a year later, write Louise Armitage and Megan Marsh. Maureen studied at LSE in the mid-late 1940s and served as a local councillor […]

  • Meet Beatrice Webb – LSE co-founder and social reformer

Meet Beatrice Webb – LSE co-founder and social reformer

  • January 22nd, 2019

Blog editor Hayley Reed introduces Beatrice Webb (1858-1943), one of the four founders of the London School of Economics and Political Science. Born 22 January 1858, Beatrice Webb (nee Potter) became a leading social reformer, Fabian Society member, co-founder of LSE and prolific diarist. Her diaries are available at the LSE Digital Library.
Early years
Beatrice’s accomplishments are a testament to her […]

  • #LSEWomen in the Commons – a history of female LSE graduates elected to the House of Commons

#LSEWomen in the Commons – a history of female LSE graduates elected to the House of Commons

  • December 27th, 2018

The history of female LSE graduates who have been elected to the House of Commons is long and illustrious. LSE’s Greg Taylor introduces a series of women who blazed a political trail, challenged the patriarchy and stuffy rigidity of Westminster, and represented their local areas with passion and commitment.

The first LSE alumna to be elected was Marion Philips, who served the […]

  • Hilde Himmelweit – pioneer of social psychology

Hilde Himmelweit – pioneer of social psychology

  • November 28th, 2018

In the mid 1960s Social Psychology emerged from Sociology as an independent department – the precursor of today’s Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, looks at the career of Hilde Himmelweit who led the discipline through its formative years at LSE.

Hildegarde Therese Litthauer was born in Berlin on 20 February 1918. Her father, Dr Siegfried […]

  • A mother and daughter at LSE – Herabai and Mithan Tata

A mother and daughter at LSE – Herabai and Mithan Tata

LSE often runs in the family with several generations making their way to Houghton Street. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly writes about an unusual mother and daughter duo.

In 1919 a young Indian woman, Mithan Ardeshir Tata enrolled to study at LSE. Mithan was born in 1898 into a Parsi family in Mumbai (then known as Bombay), the daughter of Herabai […]

  • Lilian Knowles (1870-1926) – the pioneer

Lilian Knowles (1870-1926) – the pioneer

  • October 24th, 2018

Jennie Stayner introduces pioneering female academic Lilian Knowles, first female professor of Economic History at LSE, and first female Dean of Faculty in the University of London.
Intentionally or unintentionally, it seemed to be her lot to be breaking down barriers.
C M Knowles
Lilian Charlotte Anne Knowles (Tomn) was born in 1870 in Cornwall and spent a happy childhood riding horses and winning […]

  • Lucy Philip Mair – leading writer on colonial administration, early international relations scholar, and anthropologist

Lucy Philip Mair – leading writer on colonial administration, early international relations scholar, and anthropologist

  • October 3rd, 2018

Lucy Philip Mair was a well-known anthropologist at LSE; she is far less known for her significant contributions to the history of the discipline of International Relations. Professor Patricia Owens, director of a new Leverhulme project on the history of women’s international thought, highlights this neglected, early aspect of Lucy Mair’s academic life.

Lucy Philip Mair was born on 28 […]

  • Susan Strange – world renowned international relations scholar

Susan Strange – world renowned international relations scholar

  • September 19th, 2018

Susan Strange held the Montague Burton Chair in International Relations 1978-88 and was a world renowned leader of the field, writes Professor Patricia Owens of the University of Sussex. Susan Strange had studied at LSE and become a journalist before returning to academia. As a professor at LSE, she published her most influential books and founded the British International Studies Association. Later, she became […]

  • “Exceptional and outstanding qualities” – Professor Ragnhild Hatton (1913-1995)

“Exceptional and outstanding qualities” – Professor Ragnhild Hatton (1913-1995)

  • September 12th, 2018

For 32 years Ragnhild Hatton was a member of the International History Department. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, investigates her career as a historian and teacher of the 17th and 18th centuries.

Ragnhild Hatton was born in Bergen, Norway in 1913. Her family was well to do with links to Bergen’s shipping interests, but her father, Gustav Ingolf Hanssen was an […]

  • “A pillar of the department” – Sally Sainsbury at LSE

“A pillar of the department” – Sally Sainsbury at LSE

  • September 5th, 2018

Sally Sainsbury completed the Diploma Social Policy and Administration at LSE in 1963, before joining the Department of Social Administration to become a research assistant and a teacher. She established herself a leader in the field of disability and social policy and retired as Emeritus Reader in Social Administration, Department of Social Policy. Here, Professor David Piachaud remembers a dedicated, unstinting […]

  • Edith Abbott – pioneering American academic

Edith Abbott – pioneering American academic

  • August 29th, 2018

Edith Abbott, an economist, social worker and women’s equality campaigner, was the first American woman to be appointed the dean of a graduate school in the United States. She had studied at LSE in the early 1900s and was influenced by Beatrice and Sidney Webb’s work in social reform. 

Edith Abbott was born in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1876 to Elizabeth Maletta […]

  • Clement’s Inn – the first home of the Women’s Social and Political Union in London

Clement’s Inn – the first home of the Women’s Social and Political Union in London

  • August 8th, 2018

In 1906, the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) moved from Manchester to London, and specifically to Emmeline and Frederick Pethick-Lawrence’s apartment at Clement’s Inn, writes LSE curator Gillian Murphy. Eventually the WSPU occupied 27 rooms within the building, before a split in 1912 saw the WSPU move around the corner to Kingsway. Today, the site at Clement’s Inn is […]

  • Alice Clark – a suffragist from LSE

Alice Clark – a suffragist from LSE

  • July 25th, 2018

Somerset-born Alice Clark came from a family of pacifist shoe-makers who were involved in the suffrage movement. LSE curator Gillian Murphy finds that Alice Clark also held a Shaw Research Studentship in economic history at LSE.

Alice Clark, daughter of Helen and William Clark, was born in Street in Somerset in 1874. She was a Quaker by birth, and also a Liberal, and her family were […]

  • Alice Paul – a suffragette from LSE

Alice Paul – a suffragette from LSE

  • July 18th, 2018

American Alice Paul became a “convert” to the suffragette cause after hearing a talk by Christabel Pankhurst. LSE curator Gillian Murphy charts Alice Paul’s suffragette activities in England and as a student at LSE.

“She will die, but she will never give up” commented the psychiatrist called to evaluate Alice Paul’s mental condition when she was in an American prison in […]

  • A London Lecturer at Barnard – Eileen Power and the USA

A London Lecturer at Barnard – Eileen Power and the USA

  • April 25th, 2018

On Friday 16 March 2018 during the Singularity and Solidarity: Networks of Women at the LSE, 1895–1945  seminar, Rozemarijn van de Wal talked about her ongoing research into economic historian Eileen Power. After having found some new materials in American archives, she shared some of her initial findings in researching Eileen Power’s relationship with the United States of America.

Eileen […]

  • Dr Vera Anstey – “so absolutely sane, clear, quick, intelligent & safe”

Dr Vera Anstey – “so absolutely sane, clear, quick, intelligent & safe”

A pencil portrait of Vera Anstey hangs in the lobby of the Vera Anstey Suite in the Old Building. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, writes about the portrait and a woman connected with LSE for 55 years.

Vera Anstey retired in 1964 and following her death in 1976 the Vera Anstey Suite in the Old Building was named in Vera’s honour […]

  • Women at LSE 1895-1932 – facts and figures

Women at LSE 1895-1932 – facts and figures

  • April 4th, 2018

As part of the Singularity and Solidarity: Networks of Women at the LSE, 1895–1945 seminar to mark Women’s History Month, LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, took a look at the first volume of the LSE Register, 1895-1932 to find out more about the women who taught and studied at LSE in its early years.
“The advantages of the School will be […]

  • 24 LSE women in 1918

24 LSE women in 1918

  • March 28th, 2018

To mark International Women’s Day LSE’s knitting group designed and created a banner to honour the 24 women who taught at LSE in 1918 – the year women first received the vote. LSE Archivist, Sue Donnelly, explains the inspiration and history behind the design.

The LSE Women 1918 banner is inspired by both the buildings and people of the School. The embroidered […]

  • Eugenia Charles – DBE, Iron Lady and Mamo

Eugenia Charles – DBE, Iron Lady and Mamo

LSE Library’s Sonia Gomes explores Dame Mary Eugenia Charles’ student journey at LSE. Later Dominica’s first female prime minister, Charles came to post-war London to study law in the late 1940s before returning to the Caribbean to set up her own legal practice and, eventually, political party.

Charles was the youngest of four, born in the Caribbean island of Dominica in […]

  • Margaret Barbara Lambert (1906-95) – “A thorough and energetic investigator”

Margaret Barbara Lambert (1906-95) – “A thorough and energetic investigator”

  • March 9th, 2018

Historian Margaret Lambert gained a PhD in international relations at LSE in the 1930s and after the war spent much of her career as an editor-in-chief at the Foreign Office, specialising in contemporary German history. She also collected and wrote about English folk art with her partner, the designer Enid Marx. Dr Clare Taylor explores her fascinating life.

Margaret Lambert […]

  • Enid Rosser Locket – an early female barrister

Enid Rosser Locket – an early female barrister

  • February 28th, 2018

Kate Higgins introduces the unpublished memoir of Enid Rosser Locket, LSE alumna and one of the earliest female barristers in England. It is available in the Women’s Library Reading Room at LSE Library. 

Enid wrote her memoir in her old age, but it principally covers her life only until her marriage to the arachnologist George Hazelwood Locket in 1944. Its catalogue […]

  • Beatrice Webb, William Beveridge, Poverty, and the Minority Report on The Poor Law

Beatrice Webb, William Beveridge, Poverty, and the Minority Report on The Poor Law

  • February 23rd, 2018

Ahead of the Beveridge 2.0 event Five LSE Giants’ Perspectives on Poverty, Professor Lucinda Platt explores LSE founder Beatrice Webb’s 1909 Minority Report on the Poor Law, Webb’s views on poor relief and potential influence on William Beveridge. Her report, for which Beveridge was a researcher, called for national and local appropriate coordinated provision for the poor and discussed healthcare, pensions and work. 
Two influential reports
Beatrice Webb’s points of connection […]

  • Was your (great) grandmother a suffragette? Tips for using LSE Library’s resources to trace your ancestors

Was your (great) grandmother a suffragette? Tips for using LSE Library’s resources to trace your ancestors

LSE Library receives many enquiries from people who want to find out more about members of their family who were involved in the suffrage movement. Gillian Murphy looks at some of the resources available at LSE Library which might reveal information about a long-lost relative.

Historical background
The Women’s Library grew out of the work of London Society for Women’s Suffrage […]

  • Margaret and Brian Roper – from LSE to freedom of the City of Bath

Margaret and Brian Roper – from LSE to freedom of the City of Bath

  • November 20th, 2017

In 2014 LSE alumni Margaret and Brian Roper received the freedom of Bath following years of community work and philanthropy in the city. Hayley Reed explores their lives as LSE students in the 1950s-1960s.
The Ropers in Bath
Margaret and Brian Roper made regular generous donations to organisations across Bath over decades, through their company Roper Rhodes and the Roper Family Charitable Trust.

Brian received an MBE in […]

  • Beatrice Serota – politician and social reformer

Beatrice Serota – politician and social reformer

  • September 20th, 2017

The politician and social reformer Beatrice Serota (1919-2002) both studied and taught at LSE and later became an Honorary Fellow. She is best known for her career in government, championing an inclusive approach to social policy. LSE Curator Gillian Murphy introduces LSE Library’s archive collection covering Beatrice Serota’s working life.

Beatrice Serota was born on 15 October 1919 in London. She attended Clapton […]

  • Sydney Mary Bushell, 1880-1959

Sydney Mary Bushell, 1880-1959

  • August 30th, 2017

Sydney Mary Bushell made significant contributions to the field of housing in the 1920s, particularly women’s housing, with the Garden City and Town Planning Association and Women’s Pioneer Housing. Born in Greenwich and raised in Liverpool and Formby, Sydney attended the North London Collegiate School for Girls. After working as a welder in the First World War, Sydney enrolled […]

  • Women in art – the Shaw Library

Women in art – the Shaw Library

  • March 22nd, 2017

LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly takes a trip to the Shaw Library to find out more about some of the women who created or feature in LSE art works. The Shaw Library (once known as the Founders’ Room) opened in 1928 and today its art works represent significant figures in the history of the School.
Beatrice and Sidney Webb (1928) by William Nicholson
The […]

  • Anne Barbara Page “The ablest woman I have ever known”

Anne Barbara Page “The ablest woman I have ever known”

  • March 6th, 2017

LSE Women: making history celebrates some of the notable women at LSE through the years. LSE’s Candy Gibson looks back at her great aunt, Anne Barbara Page, who graduated from LSE in 1912 with a First Class Honours degree in Economics. Anne Barbara (Nancy) went on to work as private secretary for Sir Arthur Steel-Maitland, a Conservative Party Chairman and […]

  • A life of social work and friends – Eileen Younghusband

A life of social work and friends – Eileen Younghusband

  • February 27th, 2017

Highly respected outside of LSE,  Eileen Younghusband’s career in social work education began in the 1930s and continued till her death in 1981. She had never obtained a degree and was never a senior lecturer, reader or professor. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly looks back at the life of Eileen Younghusband, whose career illustrates a network of women whose professional and personal lives […]

  • Eslanda Robeson – acting, activism, Africa and LSE

Eslanda Robeson – acting, activism, Africa and LSE

  • October 4th, 2016

Following her review of Paul Robeson: the artist as revolutionary by Gerald Horne at the LSE Review of Books, Howard University’s Sherese R Taylor introduces the life of Eslanda Robeson, who studied at LSE in the 1930s.

Eslanda Cordozo Goode Robeson, also known as Essie, was an anti-racist, anti-colonialist, anti-capitalist, and feminist born in Washington, DC on 15 December 1895. She received a […]

  • The ‘hidden’ women of LSE

The ‘hidden’ women of LSE

  • July 14th, 2016

LSE Centennial Professor Mary Evans charts the history of women at LSE and the changing attitudes towards gender in higher education and society that occurred throughout LSE’s early decades. 

LSE opened in 1895 and among its famous founders were Beatrice Webb and Sidney Webb. Much less well known among those who contributed to the funds for the School was Charlotte Payne Townshend, the wife of George Bernard […]

  • The Women’s Library at 90

The Women’s Library at 90

LSE’s Library, the British Library of Political and Economic Science, opened in November 1896. In a series of posts celebrating LSE Library’s 120th anniversary in 2016, Gillian Murphy tells the story of The Women’s Library at LSE, which is celebrating its 90th anniversary this year.

The origins of The Women’s Library can be traced back to the suffrage movement. Out of the 1866 Women’s Suffrage […]

  • Ellen Marianne Leonard – President of the Students’ Union, 1907

Ellen Marianne Leonard – President of the Students’ Union, 1907

  • March 24th, 2016

LSE’s History series for LSE Women: making history celebrates some of the notable women at LSE through the years. Sue Donnelly looks back at Ellen Marianne Leonard: first woman President of the LSE Students’ Union. 

In 1907 the LSE Students’ Union elected its first woman President, also known as the Chairman of the Common Rooms Committee. Ellen Marianne Leonard (1866-1953) was a 41 year […]

  • Audrey Richards – a career in Anthropology

Audrey Richards – a career in Anthropology

  • March 23rd, 2016

LSE’s History series for LSE Women: making history celebrates some of the notable women at LSE through the years. Adam Kuper looks back at  Audrey Richards: LSE alumna and anthropologist. 

Unprejudiced, unshockable, in many ways unconventional, Audrey Richards nevertheless operated unselfconsciously by the standards of her parents and their class.

Born in London in 1899, Audrey was the second daughter of Henry Erle and Isabel Richards. […]

  • Beatrice Webb, Clara Collet and Charles Booth’s Survey of London

Beatrice Webb, Clara Collet and Charles Booth’s Survey of London

  • March 21st, 2016

Inderbir Bhullar, LSE Library, shares the story of the women behind Charles Booth’s Survey of London. Posts about LSE’s Library explore the history of the Library and its collections.

At LSE, we’re fortunate to have a fascinating collection of material from what is often referred to as the Charles Booth Survey of London. This survey and all the laboriously collected data which […]

  • “A decided bent for economic history” – Margaret Gowing, historian, civil servant and academic

“A decided bent for economic history” – Margaret Gowing, historian, civil servant and academic

LSE’s History series for LSE Women: making history celebrates some of the notable women at LSE through the years. Sue Donnelly looks back at Margaret Gowing: LSE alumna, civil servant and academic. 

The historian Margaret Gowing (1921-1998) was the author of histories of the Second World War and the UK’s nuclear power and nuclear deterrent capacity. In a 1988 letter to LSE Director I […]

  • Baroness Stocks – economist and activist

Baroness Stocks – economist and activist

  • March 9th, 2016

Mary Danvers Stocks was a life-long activist. A teenage member of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, she went on to achieve a first class BSc in Economics from LSE then taught at the School during the First World War. As well as an extensive academic career, she campaigned for issues from the ordination of women priests and equal pay to […]

  • LSE’s “Deputy director, hostess, accountant, and lady of all work” – Christian Scipio Mactaggart, 1861-1943

LSE’s “Deputy director, hostess, accountant, and lady of all work” – Christian Scipio Mactaggart, 1861-1943

  • March 1st, 2016

LSE’s History series for LSE Women: making history celebrates some of the notable women at LSE through the years. Sue Donnelly looks back at Christian Mactaggart: School Secretary 1896-1919. 

On 24 June 1943 a telegram arrived from Australia for LSE’s Director, Alexander Carr-Saunders, announcing the death of Christian Scipio Mactaggart who from 1896-1919 worked as School Secretary – not always with the title.

We know little […]

  • Charlotte Shaw’s legacy – the Shaw Library

Charlotte Shaw’s legacy – the Shaw Library

The Founders’ Room, or as it is more popularly known the Shaw Library, is much loved by students and staff past and present as a place to read, snooze or eat your lunch. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly reveals how this quiet haven on the top of the Old Building came into existence.
The Founders’ Room

The sixth floor of the Old […]

  • Suffragettes and LSE – early neighbours

Suffragettes and LSE – early neighbours

Now home to LSE, 20 Kingsway used to house the Tea Cup Inn – a tea shop for suffragettes. The offices of the Women’s Social and Political Union were at Clement’s Inn and their newspaper printed at the St Clement’s Press on Clare Market. Hayley Reed finds that if you look closely traces of the suffragettes, LSE’s early neighbours, can still […]

  • Women at the front – pioneering LSE teachers

Women at the front – pioneering LSE teachers

LSE accepted women students from its earliest days. For Women’s History Month 2015, LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly takes a look at the women who stood at the front of the classroom during the early years of the School.
Gertrude Tuckwell

The first woman to appear in the list of teachers in the LSE Calendar is Gertrude Tuckwell in the School’s second year. […]

  • Beatrice Webb – the early years

Beatrice Webb – the early years

Beatrice Webb’s early years began with a childhood in Gloucestershire. She combined care of the family once her mother died with a burgeoning career in social investigation. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly introduces Beatrice Webb’s early years.
The early spring months have always been sweet at Standish and the loveliest memories of my childhood gather round the first long days, when the dreary walks […]

  • Angela Raspin, 1938-2013 – LSE’s first archivist

Angela Raspin, 1938-2013 – LSE’s first archivist

  • May 22nd, 2014

It was always Sidney Webb’s vision for the Library that it should support researchers, rich in primary sources including archive materials. LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly shares the story of LSE’s first archivist, Angela Raspin, who served in post from 1975 until 1998.

In 1898 the Library took in its first archive deposit when Beatrice and Sidney Webb donated the trade […]

  • An unsung heroine of LSE – Charlotte Shaw

An unsung heroine of LSE – Charlotte Shaw

Accounts of LSE’s foundation and early years are dominated by the personalities of the four people staying at Borough Farm on the morning of 4 August 1894 when Sidney Webb began to outline the idea of establishing a “London school of economics and political science”. One often overlooked key player, writes LSE Archivist Sue Donnelly, is the Irish heiress […]

  • The Gate of the Year – Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957)

The Gate of the Year – Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957)

Retired LSE academic Minnie Louise Haskins’ famous lines on “the gate of the year” have been used at royal occasions from George VI’s 1939 Christmas broadcast to the funeral of Elizabeth, the Queen Mother in 2002, writes LSE archivist Sue Donnelly. 
And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:

“Give me a light that I may […]