Archive for the ‘Events and exhibitions’ Category

Touching the Past – Women’s History in Archives

March 13th, 2013 by Catherine McIntyre, Archives Assistant

Student in the Library, 1981 (IMAGELIBRARY/524)

Yesterday saw us attending ‘Working with the Past’, a panel discussion organised by the Equality & Diversity department in conjunction with ourselves and the Gender Institute that explored the use of archives in studying women’s history. The panel was chaired by Professor Mary Evans and the speakers were Professor Sally Alexander, Dr. Kate Murphy and Professor Barbara Bush.

Sally talked about Sisterhood and After: An Oral History of the Women’s Liberation Movement, housed at the British Library, and her experiences both using an archive and being part of an archive. Sally was interviewed for the project and has also deposited her archive papers at The Women’s Library. She talked about how she went into the interview with a clear idea of what she was going to say, but also what she was not going to say, but that it all went out of the window in the face of the very skilled interviewer, to whom she found herself opening up and revealing information she hadn’t imagined she would.

Student in the old library, history reading room, 1964 (IMAGELIBRARY/139)

Kate related her experiences using archives and how they changed her life, with her interest in women’s history and the discoveries she made in archives like those of the BBC and The Women’s Library inspiring her to do a PhD. Kate also told us about her advocacy of The Women’s Library and women’s history, being very proud that she was able to highlight the stories of inspiring women as producer of BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour. ‘The Long March to Equality’ exhibition that has just closed was curated by Kate and she talked about having to choose the “treasures” that would be featured in it from all the brilliant items that are house in the collections.

Barbara told us about her quest to discover the invisible slave woman through archival research and talked about how historians are so often preoccupied with official records, which cover only a very small part of the history of communities. She also talked about her use of the archives at LSE, those of Audrey Richards and Phyllis Kaberry and the changing face of anthropology after women were able to undertake fieldwork.


Audrey Richards, c1975 (From RICHARDS/19/2)

It was a very interesting event to a student of archives. The speakers touched on subjects such as the concepts of truth and memory and how they are represented in archives. Barbara also mentioned how ephemeral materials are just as important to a researcher as official records, especially in disciplines such as the social sciences. Appraisal and what is kept in archives was also questioned and Sally pointed out that we’ve never kept everything and things like phone calls have never been preserved.

One of the audience members brought up the issue of activism having moved online, to blogs and Twitter and other Web 2.0 applications. They asked who was collecting these materials, which is a pertinent question and interesting that non-archivists are thinking about it, especially to me as I have just finished a module on my archives degree course looking at the preservation and management of Web 2.0 records. It’s such a new area, but moves so fast that archives need to act fast in order to lose as little material as possible.

The discussion ended with the panellists and members of the audience expressing encouraging views on the movement of The Women’s Library to LSE, highlighting the crossover in collections and the commitment of LSE to maintaining and expanding the collection.

Working with the Past

March 6th, 2013 by Sue Donnelly, Archivist
Three Girls Advertising the Votes for Women newspaper

Three Girls Advertising the Votes for Women newspaper

Next Tuesday, 12 March, The Women’s Library @ LSE, Gender Institute and LSE Equality and Diversity have a organised  a panel discussion, Working With the Past,  to mark Women’s History Month. Professor Barbara Bush, Dr Kate Murphy and Professor Sally Alexander and chair, Professor Mary Evans, will discuss their experience of working with the past, the significance of this work and think about what women’s archives offer and what do researchers discover in the process?

The event is at 5pm in the Wolfson Theatre, New Academic Building, and will be followed by a drinks reception and an opportunity to view an exhibition showcasing items from The Women’s Library @ LSE collections.

To book a free place go to .

Sport in the Archives – LGBT History Month 2012

February 24th, 2012 by Sue Donnelly, Archivist
Gay Pride March in 1927

Gay Pride March in 1972

In this Olympic year the 8th LGBT History Month is taking sport as its main theme and last night the Archives Services Group hosted a session for LSE’s LGBT staff group, Spectrum, with a focus on sport. This is the second year that we have hosted an LSE event and it is great to bring colleagues into the archives and showcase some of the items many colleagues know little about..

At first I thought I was going to struggle with the theme of sport but a search of the Archives Catalogue found a number of items including a travel brochure for the 2002  Sydney Gay Games, investigations into homophobia and discrimination in sport by Stonewall alongside more broadly sporty groups like the Gay Outdoor Club which organises walking, cycling and camping weekends.

The Gay Outdoor Club put its first advert in Gay New News in March 1974 and the first event was a weekend of hill walking and camping in Snowdonia. a 1975 questionnaire indicated that some members were keen enough to want to go camping in January and February! Over the summer of 1976 there appear to have been events most weekends across the country.

Earlier in the month I was up in Preston for a day conference organised by Lancashire Record Office.  ‘Outing the Past’ was run for archivists and other heritage professionals to encourage them to find and promote LGBT materials within their own collections. Unfortunately a derailment at Bletchley (not the train I was on!) meant I missed the morning’s events but I was in time to present on the Hall-Carpenter Archives. I also had a chance to experience one of the lesson plans produced by Schools Out on Hidden Histories which had the group competitively trying to put historical events in order at the command of former history teacher, Jeff Evans. It was a great example of normalising LGBT history (or any other hidden history) within the classroom. It was also a great way to get a bunch of archivists out for their chairs and arguing chronology.

LGBT History Month now has hundreds of events across the country and we will be thinking about what we can do for next year’s programme.

New Collection: the Lionel Robbins papers

November 25th, 2011 by Catherine McIntyre, Archives Assistant

Coinciding with the tenth anniversary of the refurbishment of the Library building he played such an important part in securing for the School, we have recently received the papers of Lionel Robbins and a box list of the contents is now available to view via the Archives catalogue.

Naming of the Lionel Robbins Building, 27th July 1978

Robbins was an extremely important part of the LSE, playing a pivotal role in building the reputation of the Economics department as its head and chairing the Court of Governors through one of the School’s most turbulent periods. The Library building is named after him, recognising his hard work in organising and leading the appeal for funds to buy what was then Strand House and is now the Lionel Robbins Building. Despite a busy life as a working lecturer and author of many articles and publications, Robbins still found time to be involved in the arts. He was variously a trustee, director, chairman or president of a number of institutions such as the National and Tate galleries, the Royal Opera House and the British Academy.

The papers contain records documenting all of these roles and include correspondence with economists, LSE Directors, friends and acquaintances; minutes of meetings; drafts of articles and publications, plus reviews of publications; student notebooks; diaries; notes for teaching and speeches given in relation to a variety of his activities. There is also a section covering Robbins’s time as part of the Economic Advisory Committee and his position as director of the economic section of the war cabinet offices during the Second World War.


Robbins's LSE Employment Contract, 1926

An exhibition of materials from the collection will be on display as part of the Lionel Robbins: a Life lecture on Tuesday 30th November.

Lionel Robbins: a Life

November 17th, 2011 by Anna Towlson, Assistant Archivist

Department of Economics and LSE Library Public Lecture

Date: 30 November 2011

Venue: The Old Theatre, Main Building

Start: 6.30pm

Speaker: Professor Susan Howson

Chair: Professor Lord Layard

To celebrate the launch of her outstanding biography of Lionel Robbins, the Department of Economics and the LSE Library’s Archives Division are delighted to present a public lecture by Professor Susan Howson of the University of Toronto. A true “Renaissance man”, Robbins made major contributions to his own academic discipline and applied his skills as an economist not only to practical problems of economic policy and of higher education, but also to the administration of the visual and performing arts that he loved deeply.  This lecture will focus on some of his accomplishments outside pure economics, demonstrating why he was such an important figure in the intellectual and cultural life of Britain in the twentieth century. 

This event is free and open to all, with no ticket required.

Lionel Robbins

Lionel Robbins

Street Photography

August 30th, 2011 by Sue Donnelly, Archivist

In autumn 2003  I went over to the East End of London to the studio of Paul Trevor to appraise the photographic archive of Survival Programmes a record of inner city life during the 1970s. The project was funded by the Gulbenkian Foundation and undertaken by the Exit Photography Group comprising Paul Trevor, Chris Steele-Perkins and Nicholas Battye who travelled to cities across the UK to photograph inner city life. The cities covered included Liverpool, Belfast, Birmingham and Newcastle. At the time I got the sense that few people were interested in the collection for either its aesthetics or as a documentary record of time and place.

So it has been good to see Paul Trevor’s work popping up in a couple of street photography exhibitions over the summer. Paul is one of the photographers interviewed by the Museum of London  for the London Street Photography exhibition which includes Paul’s photographs of Brick Lane. Up in Liverpool at the Walker Art Gallery Like You’ve Never Been Away showcases some of Paul’s photographs of Liverpool taken for Survival Programmes.

Survival Programmes produced vivid if sometimes disturbing images of inner city life. To find out more the photographs can be accessed via the Archives Reading Room on the lower ground floor of the Library.  There are details on the Archives Catalogue.