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History in Focus

the guide to historical resources • Issue 8: Gender •


An old photo of a man on a beach with his baby

A man on the beach with his baby c. 1950s.

More resources

Archives, libraries & museums

This section of History in Focus presents an overview of some of the archival and library resources available on the study of gender along with some museums that hold collections in the area. The listings below mainly cover UK collections, although a few key international collections are also included.

UK collections

The Bedford Centre for the History of Women

The Bedford Centre for the History of Women organises lectures, seminars and conferences, and conducts and supports original research. It disseminates information about research being carried out world-wide in the field of women's history and the history of gender. There is a notable collection of personal papers and the archive houses an extensive collection on women's education.

Address: Royal Holloway, University of London, Egham, Surrey TW20 0EX
Tel: 01784 414098
Fax: 01784 435841
email: bedford.centre@rhul.ac.uk
Glasgow Women's Library

An archive and resource centre housing a library of information for and about women. The Lesbian Archive and Information Centre is also housed at the library, which is a women only environment, but men can visit by appointment.

Address: 2nd Floor, 81 Parnie Street, Glasgow G1 5RH
Tel./Fax: 0141 552 8345
email: info@womenslibrary.org.uk
Open: Tuesday - Friday 13.00 - 18.00, Saturday 14.00 - 17.00
People's History Museum

The People's History Museum is the national centre for the collection, conservation, interpretation and study of material relating to the history of working people in Britain. The museum galleries are housed in the Pump House: a former Edwardian hydraulic pumping station, Bridge Street, Manchester.

The Labour History Archive and Study Centre, housed at the museum, covers nineteenth- and twentieth-century social and political history including women's history and politics and workers organisations and trade unions.

Address: 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 6DD
Tel: 0161 228 7212
email: LHASC@fs1.li.man.ac.uk
Open: Monday - Friday 10.00 - 17.00
The Women's Library

The Women's Library is a cultural centre, housing the most extensive collection of women's history in the UK. As well as the Reading Room there is a lively exhibition and events programme, all designed to celebrate and record women's lives. Everyone is welcome to use the Reading Room, though registration and proof of identity bearing signature or photograph (for example, a passport, student pass or debit card) is required. The registration form is available on the website, as are the Reading Room regulations. Books published after 1920 and a selection of periodicals are stored on open access shelves in the Reading Room. Older published materials, pamphlets, the remaining periodicals and all Special Collections are shelved in closed stacks. Readers are strongly urged to contact the Library in advance of a visit, as some material requires 24 hours notice for retrieval.

Address: Old Castle Street, London E1 7NT
Tel: 020 7320 2222
Fax: 020 7320 2333
email: enquirydesk@thewomenslibrary.ac.uk (Reading Room) or moreinfo@thewomenslibrary.ac.uk (General information & to join the mailing list)
Open: Tuesday - Friday 09.30 - 17.00, Thursday 09.30 - 20.00, Saturday 10.00 - 16.00
Working Class Movement Library

The Working Class Movement Library (WCML) is a collection of English-language books, periodicals, pamphlets, archives and artefacts, concerned with the activities, expression and enquiries of the labour movement, its allies and its enemies, since the late 1700s. Use of the library is by appointment only and visitors are encouraged to use the online catalogue before visiting.

Address: 51 The Cresent, Salford, Greater Manchester M5 4WX
Tel: 0161 736360
email: enquiries@wcml.org.uk
Open: Tuesday - Friday 10.00 - 17.00, Wednesday 10.00 - 19.00

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International collections

National Women's History Museum

Founded in 1996, the National Women's History Museum is a non-partisan, non-profit educational institution dedicated to revealing, presenting and celebrating the rich and diverse history of women's contributions that have shaped American culture and society. Currently, the Museum office is in Annandale, Virginia (a suburb of Washington, DC) and contactable staff will continue working from this location until the permanent site in downtown Washington, DC is opened.

Address: The Museum does not as yet have a permanent location, but staff can be contacted by letter at National Women's History Museum, PO Box 1296 Annandale, VA 22003 USA
email: info@nwhm.org
Tel: +01 703 813 6209
International Institute of Social History

The International Institute of Social History (IISH) was founded in 1935. It is involved with the documentation of and research into social history in general and the labour movement in particular. The IISH also houses the Netherlands Economic History Archive (NEHA) and the Netherlands Press Museum. The website is available in Dutch and English with some of the information also available in French and German. The website offers access to a wealth of information about the IISH and its activities. There is information on events taking place, research, publications and virtual exhibitions of posters and art work. Details of opening hours and borrowing regulations are given. Information about the collections is made available via an online catalogue and an index of archives. There are currently over 900,000 items the archive, a section on women's history. The International Institute of Social History hosts the World Wide Web Virtual Library for labour and business history.

Address: Cruquiusweg 31, 1019AT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tel: +31 206 685 866
Fax: +31 206 654 181
email: info@iisg.nl

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