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Guide to the Women's Guild of Arts Records, 1902-1949 and undated

Summary

The Women's Guild of Arts was founded in England in 1907 by textile designer and jeweller May Morris, and grew to about 60 members. The organization offered female artists an alternative to the Art Workers' Guild, the artists' association established in 1884 to encourage excellence in the fine and applied arts, and from which women were excluded until the 1960s. Collection comprises primarily 81 letters from 29 members of the Women's Guild of Arts between 1902 and 1949. There are 7 additional documents, including draft resolutions, certificates, lists, and notes.

Collection Details

Collection Number
RL.11546
Title
Women's Guild of Arts records
Date
1902-1949 and undated
Extent
0.2 Linear Feet, 88 items
Repository
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Language
Materials in English

Collection Overview

Collection comprises primarily 81 letters from 29 members of the Women's Guild of Arts between 1902 and 1949. There are 7 additional documents, including draft resolutions, certificates, lists, and notes. Three letters predate the founding of the organization in 1907. The primary topic of the letters is the crisis within the Guild regarding its women-only status, an argument regarding how restrictive the Guild should be. Pamela Colman Smith wrote to May Morris (22 January 1913) that the reason she joined the Guild was that it made a point of asking its members not to exhibit at women-only shows, as it lowered the standard of work and that the Guild was never intended to be a purely woman's affair. Other letters on the subject come from Evelyn de Morgan, Feodora Gleichen, and Ethel Sandell. Gleichen's letter was circulated to members, and the collection contains a list of those who agreed with her; several letters are marked up to indicate a position on the matter. There is also a draft resolution welcoming any move to widen the scope of the Guild "such as stimulating and interesting lectures not only from our own members but from men and women outside....It is with this in view that we supported the resolution passed at the recent Annual Meeting, inviting as Honorary Associates a few people with whose work we are in sympathy..." (22 January 1913). Other topics in the letters include the role of the president, exhibitions, lectures, and the work of the organization, along with the William Morris Centenary Commemoration in 1934.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Arrangement

Arranged alphabetically by name of correspondent or author.

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More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Women's Guild of Arts Records, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

Adams [Webb], Katharine, 1913-1949
(8 item)

Includes draft resolution dated 1913 January 22.

Box 1
Bauerle, Ameila, undated
(2 item)
Box 1
Beddington, Beatrice, 1926
(1 item)
Box 1
Beddington, Maud, 1913-1936
(7 item)
Box 1
Binyon, Laurence, undated
(4 item)
Box 1
Cobden-Unwin, Jane, 1907
(1 item)
Box 1
De Morgan, Evelyn, undated
(1 item)
Box 1
Fabian Society, 1908-1909
(3 item)

Certificates.

Box 1
Frampton, Lola, 1913
(1 item)
Box 1
Gleichen, Feodora von, 1908 and undated
(2 item)
Box 1
Hunt, Gladys Holman, 1930? and undated
(2 item)
Box 1
Kelmscott Manor, 1926-1927 and undated
(3 item)

Exhibition invitation cards, the versos used to list objects, books, and pictures from Kelmscott Manor, probably created for the William Morris Centenary Exhibition.

Box 1
Kemp-Welch, Lucy, 1902-1906 and undated
(7 item)
Box 1
Maclagan, Eric, 1930-1937
(6 item)
Box 1
Miscellaneous or unidentified author, 1910-1913 and undated
(8 item)
Box 1
Moore, Esther, undated
(1 item)
Box 1
Moore, Thomas Sturge, 1934
(2 item)
Box 1
Morris, May, 1934-1936 and undated
(5 item)
Box 1
Noel, Conrad, 1934
(1 item)
Box 1
Ridley, Ada P., 1912
(1 item)
Box 1
Rope, E. M., 1912
(1 item)
Box 1
Rothenstein, William, 1934
(1 item)
Box 1
Sandell, Ethel, 1913
(1 item)
Box 1
Short, Frank, 1933?
(1 item)
Box 1
Smith, Christina, undated
(1 item)
Box 1
Smith, Pamela Colman, 1913
(1 item)
Box 1
Stirling, Wilhelmina, undated
(2 item)
Box 1
Turner, Laurence, 1943
(1 item)
Box 1
Women's Guild of Arts, undated
(1 item)

List of members in agreement with Countess Gleichen's letter, dated 1913.

Box 1
Watts, Mary Seton, 1907-1932 and undated
(10 item)
Box 1
Woodward, Alice B., undated
(2 item)
Box 1
 

Historical Note

The Women's Guild of Arts was founded in England in 1907 by textile designer and jeweller May Morris, and grew to about 60 members. The organization offered female artists an alternative to the Art Workers' Guild, the artists' association established in 1884 to encourage excellence in the fine and applied arts, and from which women were excluded until the 1960s. Mary Seton Watts was Hon. Chairman between 1907 until 1914, when she assumed the title of Hon. President. May Morris was the first Hon. Secretary, and Chairman from 1915 onwards. Etcher and engraver Mary A. Sloane was the Hon. Secretary from 1909 to 1924. The Guild also included the painters Marianne Stokes, Annie Swynnerton, Marie Stillman, Kate Bunce and Evelyn De Morgan; the bookbinder, Katharine Adams; and the house decorator, Agnes Garrett. There were notable upper-class members such as the sculptor Feodora Gleichen and tempera painter Christiana Herringham.


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Provenance

The Women's Guild of Arts Records were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a purchase in 2015

Processing Information

Processed by Alice Poffinberger, November 2017

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2015-0050-LUBMSS549