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Ethel Mary Smyth Letters

 Collection
Identifier: MSS 0119

Scope and Contents

This collection contains letters between Dame Ethel Smyth, Lady Ponsonby, Emmeline Pankhurst, Empress Eugenie and members of the Empress's circle; an anonymous typescript describing the months preceding Empress Eugenie's death; and a suffragette broadside about Emmeline Pankhurst.

The largest group of letters, dated 1910-1914, are from Ethel Smyth to Emmeline Pankhurst. Most of them are written from Helouan, Egypt, about events concerning the women's suffrage movement in England, and a wide variety of other topics.

The broadside issued by the Women's Social and Political Union [1913] entitled, "The Case of Mrs. Pankhurst; a Victim of the 'Cat and Mouse Act'", is an appeal for the repeal of the force-feeding of imprisoned suffragettes who had gone on hunger-strikes to dramatize their position on women's rights. It describes the activities of Mrs. Pankhurst and mentions her attendance at the funeral of Emily Wilding Davison, the suffragette who threw herself in front of the King's horse in view of the King and Queen on the Derby course and was killed in June 1913.

Dates

  • 1894 - 1937

Creator

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright is retained by the creators of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.

Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information. Please see our Sensitive Materials Statement.

Biographical or Historical Information

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth (1858-1944) was a music composer, author, and feminist. Born in Sidcup, England, she showed early musical talent and waged a successful battle with her father for permission to study at the Conservatorium in Leipzig. She composed numerous works including chamber music, oratorios, and operas. A number of her compositions were performed in concert in England as well as in Germany. She was the first woman to compose music in the largest forms of opera, oratorio and concerto, making an important breakthrough for women in the field of music.

Smyth's interest in women's rights in the music world drew her into the larger movement for women's suffrage. She became a militant suffragette and feminist, served a term in prison and became a close friend of Emmeline Pankhurst. Her literary works include several autobiographies.

Extent

0.20 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials

English

Abstract

Dame Ethel Mary Smyth (1858-1944) was an English music composer, author, and feminist. The Ethel Mary Smyth Letters date from 1894 to1937, include correspondents such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Lady Ponsonby, Empress Eugenie and Lord Stamfordham, and cover a broad range of topics, including suffragism, society families, and literature.

Method of Acquisition

Purchased from London bookseller.

Offensive Language Statement

The UNC Greensboro University Libraries collects, preserves, and makes accessible unique and historical materials for learning and research. The nature of historical materials is such that some material may represent positions, norms, and values that are offensive and objectionable. These materials represent the opinions and actions of their creators. By providing access to these records in our reading room and through our digital collections, we recognize that archives and rare books can play a vital role in holding those creators accountable and in helping us learn from the past.

Our finding aids and other collection descriptions may occasionally re-use language provided by creators or former holders of the materials, but we strive to place outdated or offensive terminology in context. That said, we recognize that we may not always make the right decision and welcome feedback from all sources so we can learn and adjust our practices. Please contact us at scua@uncg.edu if you encounter problematic language in our finding aids or other collection description. We will review the language and, as appropriate, update it in a way that balances preservation of the original context with our ongoing commitment to describing materials with respectful and inclusive language.

Processing Information

Processed by Archives staff.

Creator

Title
Ethel Mary Smyth Letters
Author
Archives staff
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Script of description
Latin
Language of description note
eng

Repository Details

Part of the Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives Repository

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