Suffragette Spotlight: Rosa May Billinghurst

rosa-may-billinghurst-lse-flickr-800x600

Photo courtesy of LSE Library

As we look forward to our upcoming Suffrage Centenary Celebration at Glasgow’s People’s Palace Museum (26th and 27th May 1-4pm), we’ve decided to blog about some of the inspiring women who fought for women’s suffrage. Today, we’d like to tell you about suffragette Rosa May Billinghurst.

Rosa May Billinghurst was born in London in 1875, contracted polio as a child, and was consequently a wheelchair user, dubbed by the press as ‘The Cripple Suffragette’. She worked with her sister to rehabilitate prostitutes and was inspired to become more involved in women’s rights. She said:

‘My heart ached and I thought surely if women were consulted in the management of the state happier and better conditions must exist for hard-working sweated lives such as these. It was gradually unfolded to me that the unequal laws which made women appear inferior to men were the main cause of these evils.’

She attended talks by Millicent Fawcett (whose statue was recently unveiled in London) and the Pankhursts, and became an active member of the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU), organising campaigns and meetings. Billinghurst was at the November 1910 demonstration known as Black Friday, where she says:

‘At first the police threw me out of the machine [her wheelchair] on to the ground in a very brutal manner. Secondly when on the machine again they tried to push me along with my arms twisted behind me in a very painful position. Thirdly they took me down a side road and left me in the middle of a hooligan crowd, first taking all the valves out of the wheels and pocketing them so that I could not move the machine.’

At a demonstration shortly afterwards she turned the tables on her aggressors, using her wheelchair as a ram to push through a police cordon, and was arrested. She became increasingly militant, and in 1912 she was arrested for window–smashing, and sentenced to a month in Holloway prison. In 1913 she destroyed the contents of a letterbox and was sentenced to eight month’s imprisonment, and immediately went on hunger strike. The authorities, against the advice of her doctor, attempted to force-feed her, damaging her teeth in the process. The Home Secretary ordered her release after ten days, fearing that she might die in custody otherwise. Billinghurst, undeterred, began campaigning against force-feeding, continued fighting for votes for women, and was involved in the 1914 battle outside Buckingham Palace, between suffragettes and 1,500 policemen.

With the onset of the war, and after negotiations with the WSPU, the government released all suffragettes from prison, and in 1918 women of property over the age of thirty were granted the vote. Ten years later, this vote was extended to all British women over twenty-one years old, regardless of property. As far as Billinghurst was concerned, the campaign was not over. She continued to work with women’s societies, such as the Suffrage Fellowship and the Women’s Freedom League throughout her life, and when she died in 1953 of heart failure, she donated her body to the London school of Medicine for Women.

Keep an eye on our website for more blogs like this one, or follow us on Twitter @transatlanticladies using the hashtag #TLWsuffrage. And if you want to learn more about ground-breaking suffragettes, make your own rosettes, and learn about women and the vote, join us at the People’s Palace for an afternoon of crafts, talks, and a look at Glasgow’s suffrage collections!

Saskia

For more on Billinghurst see:

http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/10.1093/ref:odnb/9780198614128.001.0001/odnb-9780198614128-e-63834?rskey=nofOpm&result=1

http://blog.nationalarchives.gov.uk/blog/rosa-may-billinghurst-suffragette-campaigner-cripple/

https://www.catfordcentral.com/rosa-may-billinghurst-suffragette-and-womens-rights-activist/

https://inews.co.uk/news/uk/rosa-may-billinghurst-disabled-suffragette-abused-police-force-fed-prison/

 

Advertisements

Fluffy Ruffles and the New Woman Cartoon

Fluffy web image

The talk will be on Wednesday 21 February, from 5.15 – 7pm, Rooms 202 and 203, 4 University Gardens, Glasgow.

Season 2 of the Transatlantic Literary Women is well under way, and next up we’re delighted to welcome Gaby Fletcher, from the National University of Ireland, Galway, to give a talk on the New Woman cartoon from the early 20th century, the lively Fluffy Ruffles. I had a preview of this talk recently and can confirm that we’re in for a treat. Join us for this friendly, social event with refreshments and a great talk!

Here are a few words from Gaby Fletcher on the topic:

‘Fluffy Ruffles: debating, reproducing, and fashioning the New Woman’

Fluffy Ruffles was a vivacious, fashionable, and enterprising New Woman cartoon published in the New York Herald during 1907-1909. Drawn by Wallace Morgan and Carolyn Wells, the cartoon created an international sensation when the Herald began a competition to find the real Fluffy Ruffles in America during 1907. In the newspaper, tangible debate ensued about the representation and lived reality of the American New Woman. By explicitly playing with the boundaries of lived and fictional reality, Fluffy Ruffles crafted a form of New Woman that relied on the repeated narration of an idealised female identity.

The New York Herald, and particularly the European edition known as The Paris Herald, carefully crafted a responsive public sphere with its readership.  As an exemplar of this process, Fluffy Ruffles provides a form of cultural narrative that can be traced across a variety of disparate texts, authors, and products. Examining how Fluffy Ruffles generated interaction in the pages of the Paris Herald provides the opportunity to observe how the mass popular press can be used as a tool to read across and bring together seemingly disparate authors, like Edith Wharton and Gertrude Stein, in their culturally responsive writing.

Gaby photo

Biography

Gaby Fletcher is a PhD candidate at the National University of Ireland, Galway and is an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postgraduate Scholar. Her thesis considers how Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein, and Edith Wharton respond to notions of the female ideal located in American social reform campaigns.

Other upcoming events for your diaries include our Online Book Club on Forgotton Transatlantic Literary Women, on Wednesday 28th February, from 7-8pm. Join us on Twitter to share and discover underappreciated transatlantic women writers, with the hashtags #TLWBookChat and #ForgottenTLW! We also announce the winners of our International Women’s Day competition on the 8th of March, so get writing about your favourite International woman and submit your entries. Keep your eyes peeled for more details on our upcoming film screening and suffrage centenary event…

We looking forward to seeing you soon!

Saskia McCracken

 

 

Transatlantic Style: The Ocean Liner and the “International Set”

Tuesday 14th November

4 University Gardens, Rooms 202 – 203

Hello everyone,

Those of you who attended our launch in September and our workshop yesterday will remember mention of another exciting talk that we have lined up for this season. On Tuesday 14th November, Glasgow University’s very own Professor Faye Hammill will be presenting ‘Transatlantic style: the ocean liner and the “international set.”’ Ahead of the talk we have some more information about this fantastic topic, along with a short bio of our speaker:

“I mean I always love a ship and I really love the Majestic because you would not know it was a ship because it is just like being at the Ritz.” Lorelei Lee, heroine of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, gives us a perfect description of the globalised style that began to emerge during  the golden age of liner travel. Loos was part of the ‘international set’ – a loose grouping of prominent society and artistic figures, who met one another frequently on voyages and in fashionable resorts during the interwar years. The talk will explore the way liner travel was represented by members of this set, examining texts by Loos, Rebecca West, and others, and relating them to the development of a “transatlantic style” in the textual and visual forms of the era.
Continue reading “Transatlantic Style: The Ocean Liner and the “International Set””

TLW Podcast: Episode 4 – Sylvia Plath and You

Dear all,

Here is the fourth episode of our podcast! This week is dedicated to Tracy Brain’s talk on ‘Sylvia Plath and You.’ Enjoy and feel free to share this episode, and to send us your comments and suggestions!

Best wishes,

The TLW Team.

PS: For updates on our podcast and events, but also information about upcoming deadlines, calls for papers and useful resources, remember to subscribe to our newsletter!

The TLW Podcast: Episode 3 is here!

Dear all,

How are you enjoying the TLW podcast so far? After Melanie Dawson’s talk on age and modernity in last week’s episode, we present you our third podcast episode, dedicated to Professor Gary Totten’s talk on African American women writers Jessie Redmon Fauset  and Ida B. Wells. Both women travelled to Europe and used their transatlantic experience to inform their travel writing, which challenged negative stereotypes about African American populations, at a time of increased racial violence. This week, we listen to Gary talking about his research on their work, and then to an interview with TLW’s attendee and Edith Wharton specialist Anna Girling. Enjoy!

Best wishes,

The TLW team.

Transatlantic Literary Women: Series 2 Launch

The launch night will be on Tuesday 19 September, from 5.15 – 7pm, at Rooms 202 and 203, 4 University Gardens.

As promised, we’re on our way back! We’ve been busy prepping events for the second season of the Transatlantic Literary Women series and very much hope you’ll join us.

In 2016/17 we held a total of eleven events, from bookclubs to talks, workshops, creative writing events and our summer symposium with speakers from both sides of the Atlantic. We teamed up with organisations across Glasgow, including the fabulous Scottish Writers’ Centre, Northlight Heritage and Glasgow Women’s Library. We even headed into the trenches for our Transatlantic Women and War Day at Pollok Park! Many thanks again to those who supported the first season. Details of our events are available on this website and via our Twitter account @atlantlitwomen, where you can also listen to podcasts of symposium talks, recorded by the brilliant Jamie Loggie and Mark Cunningham.

We’re all back (Laura, Marine, Louisa and Saskia), along with two new members of the team: Kari Sund and Sarah Thomson. Welcome! Read about Sarah and Kari here and here.

Here are the details for our first event:

TLW Season Two Launch and Talk. Tuesday 19 September 5-15-7. Rooms 202 and 203, 4 University Gardens.

Join us for this friendly, social event: our season two launch AND a great talk! Wine, soft drinks and snacks available, plus thirty free copies of our bookclub choice, Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar to give away. And if this isn’t enough, we’re delighted to be welcoming Latinx expert Dr Eilidh Hall to give a talk ‘Spanglish as Resistance: Undoing Transatlantic Colonialism.’ We look forward to seeing you!

‘Spanglish as Resistance: Undoing Transatlantic Colonialism’ with Dr Eilidh A B Hall.

For many people in Latinx communities in the US, bi- or multilingualism is a part of everyday life. Simply put, Spanglish is a dynamic form of language made up of a conglomeration of Spanish and English dialects. And yet, to some, this is a threat to an ‘American’ culture that historically, and to this day, denies diversity and cultural complexity. This talk explores how, in an environment of intense hostility against people of Latinx heritage, Spanglish is used by activist women writers to resist the colonial erasure of their rich and diverse cultures.

Eilidh is a researcher interested in Latinx literatures and cultures. Her work focuses on Chicanx (Mexican American heritage) writings and the ways in which women negotiate their feminisms in patriarchal institutions. She is also co-jefa of The SALSA Collective, an online community for people interested in latinidades across the Americas.

Sandra-Cisneros
Sandra Cisneros, writer and artist
AnaCastillo.jpg-1150x781
Ana Castillo, a Mexican-American Chicana writer

For the diaries, our next two events are an Edith Wharton workshop on Wednesday 4 October 2-5pm, and our bookclub is on Tuesday 17 October at 5pm in the Gilchrist postgraduate club (entry open to all). Join us for an evening discussing Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar.

We’re looking forward to seeing you!