“BY DINT OF MILD MILITANCY AND UNENDING PUSH” SELF ACTUALISATION IN THE FIRST WORLD WAR EXPERIENCES OF LOUISA GARRETT ANDERSON AND FLORA MURRAY by AMANDA LOUISE MARKWELL A thesis submitted to the University of Birmingham for the degree of MASTER OF ARTS IN HISTORY BY RESEARCH School of History and Cultures College of Arts and Law University of Birmingham June 2019 University of Birmingham Research Archive e-theses repository This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder. Abstract Dr. Louisa Garrett Anderson and her partner Dr. Flora Murray spent the weeks following the declaration of the First World War calling on their feminist networks for help in forming their own hospital organisation. Tuesday 15th September 1914 found the uniformed women of the newly named Women’s Hospital Corps (WHC) at Victoria Station. Here amongst a crowd of friends and well-wishers they awaited embarkation to France. They believed that women had a part to play in defence of their country and that their profession and their experience of the women’s suffrage movement had given them the training needed to do so. This thesis argues that for some women the First World War was a time of self - actualisation. It seeks to challenge the standard approaches to women and the war, suggesting that women proactively shaped their own war and positioned themselves as integral parts of the larger whole rather than passively waiting for the impact of war to reach them. By complicating some of the myths of women and the war it will show that experiences of women led communities and ideas of selfhood had a fundamental impact on the way some women understood and responded to the war. Dedication For Lindsey, For Everything. Acknowledgements As with everything I do, the writing of this thesis was only achievable due to the love, support and belief from my wife, Lindsey. It’s a lot to ask of a person to share their life with two other women for such a long period of time. She has done so with humour, and grace, listening to my ideas and worries, and always reassuring me when I was certain the end would never be in sight. Now that it is, I cannot thank her enough for always being by my side. I would also like to thank Dr. Mo Moulton for coming with me on this unexpected (for them) project! Their advice has been greatly appreciated and invaluable at times. Thank you to the Women’s Library @LSE and Suffolk Record Office for the accessibility of your archives. Although online documents and archives have made access to some history easier, and this thesis is no exception, there is nothing like holding something your subjects made, or touched to make you feel like you are walking alongside them. Table of Contents List of Illustrations List of Abbreviations Page Introduction 1 Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray 2 Visions of war 5 Theoretical approach 7 Historiographical survey 12 Chapter structure 15 Chapter 1: “Somehow or other we always get around to that subject again, and again” The importance of the Women’s Suffrage movement to the war experiences of Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray 20 Campaigning for citizenship 25 Historical legitimacy 31 Fighting for rights 37 Suffrage and War 39 Comrades in arms 46 Votes for (some) women 50 Conclusion 51 Chapter 2: “My Loving Comrade” Love’s cultural codes in the experiences and lives of Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray. 52 Growing up in love 61 Community and belonging 67 Cultural rhetoric 72 All’s fair in love and war 75 Humourless women? 78 Family portraits 81 Conclusion 83 Chapter 3: “Travelling as Soldiers” The Women’s Hospital Corps and masculine spaces. 85 Answering the call 90 Uniformed 94 Uniforms in public discourse 97 School and patriotism 100 Letters from the front 101 “Proper” Soldiers 105 Army Surgeons 110 Honoured by the King 113 Conclusion 115 Chapter 4: “by sheer force of skin and achievement” Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray’s feminist opportunities during the First World War 117 Professional women 122 War Office recognition 126 Military Suffragists 130 Feminist patriotism 132 Charming articles 133 Portraying a legacy 137 Graded as Lieutenants, Captains, Majors and Lieut-Colonel 138 Campaigning for Rank 140 Legitimacy as legacy 144 One last effort 146 Conclusion 147 Conclusion 149 Bibliography Primary Sources 155 Secondary Sources Journal Articles 163 Books and Chapters 169 List of Illustrations Figure 1: Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson. Abbreviations LSMW London School of Medicine for Women (also known as the New Hospital) MRC Medical Research Council NUWSS National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies RAMC Royal Army Medical Corps SWH Scottish Women’s Hospital’s US United Suffragists VAD Voluntary Aid Detachment WFL Women’s Freedom League WHC Women’s Hospital Corps WSPU Women’s Social and Political Union WTRL Women’s Tax Resistance League Figure 1: Flora Murray and Louisa Garrett Anderson. Courtesy of the Wellcome Collection. 1 | P a g e Introduction I am afraid I have not written often enough since I left you on Monday, but the amount of organisation required by our small hospital unit is extraordinary and Dr Murray and I have done it practically by ourselves. We have been working at it continuously for 10 days since the French Red Cross accepted our offer of help and it is lucky we did otherwise it would have been impossible to start on Tuesday.1 I was not able to see anything of you my very dear one in the crowd this morning. We are a very gay young party except for Dr M and me and we feel we have a great chance which is a reason for joy. You all gave us a fine send-off…This is just what you would have done at my age. I hope I shall be able to do it half as well as you would have done.2 When Dr. Louisa Garrett Anderson wrote these words to her mother in September 1914, she and her partner, Dr. Flora Murray, had spent the weeks since the declaration of war calling on their feminist networks for help in forming their own hospital organisation. Tuesday 15th September 1914 found the uniformed women of the newly named Women’s Hospital Corps (WHC) at Victoria Station. Here amongst a crowd of friends and well-wishers they awaited embarkation to France to work under the auspices of the French Red Cross. For both Anderson and Murray, it was inconceivable that women doctors would not be needed in this time of crisis. However, as militant suffragists their experience of dealing with the British authorities meant that they had offered their services directly to the French. They believed that women had a part to play in defence of their country and that their profession and their experience of the women’s suffrage movement had given them the training needed to do so. 1 WL 7LGA/2/1/02.Louisa Garrett Anderson to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, c. Sept 1914. 2 WL 7LGA/2/1/04. Louisa Garrett Anderson to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, 15th September 1914. 2 | P a g e This thesis seeks to demonstrate that for some women the First World War was a time of self-actualisation and continuity rather than one of disruption and change. It will consider how Anderson and Murray understood and responded to the war. In doing so it aims to suggest that by widening our view and taking women’s life experiences into account we can find reasons for women’s participation in war. Rather than viewing this period as an isolated historical moment, the continuities we find here widen our understanding of this period. They move us further from the idea of war as change in women’s lives, contributing to the expanding scholarship of women during the First World War. Louisa Garrett Anderson and Flora Murray Anderson was born into a women’s movement dynasty.3 This small woman, “quick and energetic in her movements” grew up in an atmosphere of hard-won fights with causes still to be won, a world where trading political news with her family whilst on holiday was the norm.4 Writing from Switzerland at the end of the nineteenth century, Anderson spoke of her discussions with companion Katherine on Joseph Chamberlain and Irish Home Rule, stating that “…I really think Mr. Chamberlains speech almost converted me.”5 Anderson also grew up in and was nurtured by women led communities. Whether it was her time at St Leonard’s school in Scotland, her medical training at the London School of Medicine for Women (LSMW), the women’s suffrage movement, or the WHC, these atmospheres shaped Anderson 3 Anderson was the daughter of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, England’s first female doctor and the niece of Millicent Garrett Fawcett, leader of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies. Much of the Garrett family were progressive and moved into public life. According to Jenifer Glynn the Garrett sisters and cousins naturally and amicably evolved into their chosen spheres of work for the women’s movement. See J. Glynn, The Pioneering Garretts: Breaking the Barriers for Women, (London, 2008), p.114. A book that barely mentions Louisa Garrett Anderson only using her memoir of her mother to move the story along. 4 State Library of Queensland, OM81-130, Eleanor Elizabeth Bourne Papers, Reminiscence, p.3 accessed www.slq.qld.gov.au 1/11/2017. 5 SRO I: HA436/1/3/6 part. Louisa Garrett Anderson to Elizabeth Garrett Anderson. c April 1894. 3 | P a g e and gave her the confidence to live a life dedicated to furthering women’s opportunities, whether they be professional, political or personal. According to the author of her obituary, she once said that it was almost inevitable that she should accept the vocation that seemed to be prepared for her.6 After training to be a doctor at the LSMW, Anderson became involved with a number of suffrage societies, most prominently the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU). She took part in suffrage processions, hosted the first meeting of the Women’s Tax Resistance League (WTRL), chaired the inaugural meeting of the London Graduates Union for Women’s Suffrage and became a vice president of the United Suffragists (US).7 She often spoke at suffrage rallies and meetings, and as we will see, she even went to prison for her militant actions.8 What’s more the ideas of the WSPU played a substantial role in Anderson’s life during the First World War. It is no surprise therefore that her close friend Evelyn Sharp remarked that she “…was one of the great persons of the so-called women’s movement.”9 In Flora Murray, Anderson found a partner with whom she shared not only her views on politics but also an important part of her life. They appear to have met through the suffrage movement in around 1907. According to their fellow suffragist Elizabeth Robins, Murray’s mission in life “was to provide the world with a great object lesson.”10 Murray believed that although some thought the world had changed 6 Dr. Louisa Garrett Anderson, The Manchester Guardian, 16 November 1943, p.3. 7 WL 2WTR/1/1, Minutes and papers 1909; The Saturday Review, 20 November 1909, p.631; J. Geddes, ‘Deeds and Words in the Suffrage Military Hospital in Endell Street’ Medical History, 61, 2007, p.82. 8 For example see Dover Express, 5 February 1909; Sussex Agricultural Express, 11 June 1909; Hastings and St Leonards Observer, 6 March 1909. 9 Dr. Louisa Garrett Anderson, The Manchester Guardian, 16 November 1943, p.3. 10 Dr. Flora Murray, Reminiscences of her War Work by Elizabeth Robins, The Observer, 5 August 1923, p.3. 4 | P a g e women, it was in fact women who were changing the world. These changes grew out of “a demand on the part of women for intellectual and moral liberty, for freedom of choice, for open and equal opportunities in the world of effort.”11 This world of effort was embodied by Murray’s work in the women’s movement culminating in that of the WHC. This “…tall, fair woman, very well known in London medical circles…” came to London in 1905 after finishing her medical training and working in both Scotland and Durham.12 She was a member of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies (NUWSS) before she joined the WSPU in 1908.13 During her time with the WSPU Murray gave speeches, took part in marches, and provided first aid for any casualties that arose from violent demonstrations. In addition, Murray was the personal doctor of WSPU leader and founder, Emmeline Pankhurst.14 Her major contribution was her crusade against the forcible feeding of suffrage prisoners. After her early death in 1923, those who wrote in remembrance of her believed that her name would stand out for the devoted service she had given to “the advancement of women in every walk of life.”15 At the outbreak of war, Anderson and Murray had been doctors for around 14 years. They had held posts in the hospitals that allowed women medical staff and together they had founded the Women’s Hospital for Children in Harrow Road, London in 11 The Position of Women in Medicine and Surgery by Dr. Flora Murray, M.D, B.S, D.P.H. The New Statesman, 1st November 1913, p. xvi 12 Dundee Courier, 18 November 1920; J. Geddes, ‘Flora Murray (1869-1923)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford university Press, Sept 2015, http://www.oxforddnb.com.login.library.ucs.ac.uk/view/article/5634, accessed 17 Feb 2016. 13 Geddes, ‘Deeds and Words in the Suffrage Military Hospital in Endell Street’, p.82. 14 M. Pugh, The Pankhursts, (London, 2002), p.423; Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette, 27 May 1913. 15 Dr. Flora Murray, The Vote, 10th August 1923, p.1. 5 | P a g e 1912.16 This hospital offered opportunities for its doctors to gain clinical experience, since few hospitals at the time offered resident jobs for women.17 In August 1914 Anderson and Murray were determined that medical women who desired to serve their country should not be excluded from the opportunity to do so, since “their training and their sympathies fitted them for such work; they knew they could trust their own capacity; but they had yet to make their opportunity.”18 They made their opportunity with the WHC. The women successfully ran two military hospitals in Paris and Wimereux, on the French coast, during the autumn and winter of 1914. When casualties began to be evacuated to England in early 1915, the favourable reports that the War Office received about their achievements resulted in Anderson and Murray being invited to run a large military hospital back in London. Clearly defined as a suffrage enterprise run by feminists the work of the WHC garnered admiration and recognition from all corners of society. Visions of war As both Dan Todman and Ana Carden-Coyne have suggested, the overriding public image of the war is the enduring vision of futility and sacrifice, the mud and trenches of tragic waste.19 This view does not seem to have changed throughout the centenary commemorations, which for all the recent scholarship on furthering understandings of gender, sexuality, race and imperialism during this period, have 16 Women Doctors for Children, Votes for Women, 29th November 1912, p.12. 17 J. Geddes, ‘Flora Murray (1869-1923)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford university Press, Sept 205 [http://www.oxforddnb.com.login.library.ucs.ac.uk/view/article/5634, accessed 17 Feb 2016]. 18 F. Murray, Women as Army Surgeons, Being the History of the Women’s Hospital Corps in Paris, Wimereux and Endell Street, (London, 1920), p.4. 19 D. Todman, The Great War: Myth and Memory (London, 2005), p. XII; A. Carden-Coyne, ‘Masculinity and the Wounds of the First World War: A Centenary Reflection’, French Journal of British Studies, 20, 1, 2015, p.6.