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ANDERSON, Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917): Autograph Letters of

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0106 9/10
Held at: Women's Library
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Full title: ANDERSON, Dr Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917): Autograph Letters of
Date(s): 1860-1939
Level of description: fonds
Extent: 2 A boxes (2 volumes- 117 items)
Name of creator(s): Anderson | Elizabeth Garrett | 1836-1917 | physician and supporter of women's suffrage
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

Elizabeth Garrett Anderson (1836-1917), the daughter of Newson Garrett and Louise Dunnell, was born in Whitechapel, London in 1836, one of twelve children. From 1851 to 1853 she was educated in Blackheath but while visiting Northumberland in 1854, Elizabeth met Emily Davies who would remain a friend and supporter for the rest of her life. Five years later Garrett met Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman in the United States to qualify as a doctor, influencing the former to enter the field of medicine. Attempts to enter several medical schools failed; instead Garrett became a nurse at Middlesex Hospital though her efforts to attend lectures for the male doctors failed. However, it came to light that the Society of Apothecaries did not specify that females were banned from taking their examinations and in 1865 Garrett sat and passed their examination before establishing a medical practice in London. That same year, she joined Emily Davies, Dorothea Beale and Francis Mary Buss to form the Kensington Society and in 1866 signed their petition for women's enfranchisement. In 1866 Garrett created a women's dispensary and four years later was appointed visiting physician to the East London Hospital where she met James Anderson, the man who was to become her husband in Feb 1871. Though she later graduated from the University of Paris, the British Medical Register refused to recognise her MD degree. Over the next few years she became the first woman elected to serve on a school board in England, the mother of three children, opened the women-run New Hospital for Women in London with Elizabeth Blackwell and helped Sophia Jex-Blake to establish the London Medical School for Women to which Garrett Anderson was elected Dean of the London School of in 1884. Though she was never on the executives of any of the major suffrage societies, she did chair meetings and was a member first of the Central Committee of the National Society for Women's Suffrage and then later of the London Society for Women's Suffrage. On her retirement she moved to Aldeburgh, Suffolk, and became mayor herself, following her husband's death, in 1908. Subsequently, she returned to suffrage politics, but left the National Union of Suffrage Societies, which her sister Millicent Fawcett dominated, and became active in the militant Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) until 1911 when she objected to their arson campaign. Garrett Anderson and Skelton had one son, Alan Garrett Anderson (1877-1952), and two daughters, Margaret, who died of meningitis in 1875, and Louisa Garrett Anderson (1873-1943). Alan followed his father to become a public servant and shipowner, whilst Louisa went on to become a distinguished doctor herself and active suffragette. Elizabeth Garrett Anderson died on 17 Dec 1917.


Scope and content/abstract:

The collection contains 2 parts. Part A contains letters regarding Elizabeth Garrett Anderson's struggle to secure an entry into the medical profession. Part B contains letters which discuss the Franco-Prussian war, the London School Board and her engagement to James Anderson.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

The letters have been divided into two sections. Part A (1860-1865) and Part B (1866-1939).

Conditions governing access:

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit. Available on microfiche only.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Finding aids:

Abstracts of individual letters in the autograph letters collection were written and held alongside the letters. This work was done from the 1960s by volunteers including Nan Taylor. In 2004 Jean Holder completed a 3 year project to list the letters, copy-type the abstracts, and repackage the letters to meet preservation needs. In 2005 Vicky Wylde and Teresa Doherty proof read and imported the entries to the Special Collections Catalogue.

The original card index of all correspondents, including date of letter & volume reference, is available on the microfiche.

Archival Information

Archival history:

This collection consists of letters taken from various sources and filed individually in ring binders. The original source of the item (often from archive collections) is not generally indicated.

Immediate source of acquisition:

Allied Materials

Related material:

Also held at The Women's Library are legal papers of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson relating to her marriage in 1871 (7EGA) and the personal papers of her daughter Louisa Garrett Anderson (7LGA). Other collections within Strand 9 which may be of interest include 9/01 Women's Suffrage, 9/02 General Women's Movement, 9/03 Emancipation of Women, 9/04 Female Education, 9/05 Women in Medicine. The Royal Free Hospital Archives Centre, London holds the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Collection (1 box).

Publication note:

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Finding aid created by export from CALM v7.2.14 Archives Hub EAD2002. Edited for AIM25 by Sarah Drewery.

Rules or conventions:
In compliance with ISAD (G): General International Standard Archival Description - 2nd Edition (1999); UNESCO Thesaurus, December 2001; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:

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