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Medical Womens' Federation

Identity Statement

Reference code(s): GB 0120 SA/MWF
Held at: Wellcome Library
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Full title: Medical Womens' Federation
Date(s): 1879-1988
Level of description: Collection (fonds)
Extent: 126 boxes, 3 outsize items and 1 outsize folder.
Name of creator(s): Medical Womens' Federation
Detailed catalogue: Click here to view repository detailed catalogue


Administrative/Biographical history:

The Association of Medical Women was founded in 1879. In 1917 local Associations of Registered Medical Women joined together to form The Medical Women's Federation (MWF) to represent the interests of women as doctors (especially those serving in the Armed Forces) and patients. The MWF was particularly concerned with the career opportunites and medical education of women. It conducted surveys and research into topics such as the menopause, abortion, and family planning. It also held lectures and conferences, and formed committees to investigate medical issues that specifically affect women. In the late 1960s the Inter-Professional Working Party was set up at the initiative of the MWF to agitate for the amelioration of various financial injustices affecting professional women.


Scope and content/abstract:

Papers of the Medical Womens' Federation (MWF), 1879-1988, comprising minutes, 1916-1984; annual report, 1917 onwards; newsletter, bulletin and journal, 1919 onwards; editorial files, 1956-1973; general papers, 1914-1990s; lists of members, 1919-1956; historical files relating to medical education; historical files relating to hospitals founded by women;historical files relating to women in medicine; historical files relating to medical societies; historical files relating to medical women overseas; historical files relating to World Wars One and Two; historical files relating to the archives of the MWF; historical memorabilia; early committee files, 1919-1940s; records relating to general internal and organisational matters, 1940s-1980s; records of relations with other bodies, 1920s-1980s including the General Medical Council, British Medical Association, Ministry of Health, other Government Departments, European Economic Community, Women's Group on Public Welfare, Women's National Commission, Women's National Cancer Campaign, official commissions and committees, and other miscellaneous bodies; records relating to careers and medical education, 1940s-1980s, including medical education, qualification, posts, pay, conditions of service, career opportunites, postgraduate, vocational and refresher training, Career Committee papers, Careers/Liaison Officers information, and miscellaneous matters; subject files, 1950s-1980s; surveys and statistics concerning medical women's careers, 1928-1985; records relating to miscellaneous surveys; surveys and statistics concerning the menopause; surveys and statistics concerning family planning; surveys and statistics concerning old women; records relating to the Research and Scientific Committee and Cancer of the Ovary Research Project; records relating to the Medical Women's International Association, 1920s-1980s; records relating to the Inter-Professional Working Party, 1960s-1970s; personal papers of Dr Alice Emilie Sanderson Clow; publications; ephemera; press cuttings; and records relating to local associations, 1879-1989.

Access & Use

Language/scripts of material:

System of arrangement:

As outlined in Scope and Content.

Conditions governing access:

Certain restrictions apply. The majority of the papers are available subject to the usual conditions of access to Archives and Manuscripts material, by prior appointment with the Archivist after the completion of a Reader's Undertaking. Please note that SA/MWF/J/17/2 has restricted access up until 01/01/2079 and readers are required to complete a Restricted Access form and undertake thereby not to identify individuals who may be named in the records. The dates at which this restriction will cease to be effective are given in the records for the individual items.

Conditions governing reproduction:

Photocopies/photographs/microfilm are supplied for private research only at the Archivist's discretion. Please note that material may be unsuitable for copying on conservation grounds, and that photographs cannot be photocopied in any circumstances. Readers are restricted to 100 photocopies in twelve months. Researchers who wish to publish material must seek copyright permission from the copyright owner.

Finding aids:

The catalogue is available on microfiche via the National Inventory of Documentary Sources (NIDS).

Archival Information

Archival history:

After the Second World War the Federation made a concerted effort to preserve its own history and that of women doctors in general, and an Honorary Archivist was appointed. Relevant material was acquired including personal accounts, photographs, ephemera, and articles relating to the subject of women in medicine, as well as correspondence and papers accumulated by the MWF in the course of its activities.

Immediate source of acquisition:

The papers of Dr Alice Emilie Sanderson Clow were originally given to the British Medical Association by the Medical Women's Federation in 1980. They were transferred from the BMA in 1996 with the approval of the MWF. More items were received directly from the MWF in 1997.

Allied Materials

Related material:

A scrapbook of the MWF is held in the Greater Manchester County Record Office (ref Q217). A detailed list of the contents (which date from 1910 to 1970) is held by the Wellcome Library and can be consulted on request.

Publication note:

'Eighty Years of the Medical Women's Federation: the MWF archive in the Contemporary Medical Archives Centre at the Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine' by Lesley Hall, Medical Woman, 16/2, Summer 1997.

Description Notes

Archivist's note:
Compiled by Anya Turner.

Rules or conventions:
Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal, Place and Corporate Names, 1997.

Date(s) of descriptions:
June 2008

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