File 49 - To the married women and mothers in this constituency.

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To the married women and mothers in this constituency.

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(June 4, 1887-July 16, 1940)

Biographical history

Ray Strachey (born Rachel Pearsall Conn Costelloe) was a British writer, artist and politician. Born in England, she attended Cambridge and sat the mathematical tripos. She spent the majority of her life working towards the cause of Women's Suffrage and wrote extensively on this topic. She was the Parliamentary Secretary of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and worked closely with Dame Millicent Fawcett Garret. After the First World War and the passing of laws allowing women to stand in Parliament she ran, unsuccessfully, for Brentford and Chiswick in 1918, 1922 and 1923. When the first woman was elected to parliament (Nancy Astor), Ray became her Parliamentary Secretary. She also served as the head of the Women's Employment Federation and was a frequent contributor to the BBC. She was married to Oliver Strachey and together they had two children, Barbara, a writer, and Christopher, a computer scientist. Barbara studied in Vienna before taking her admittance exams for university where she was watched over by Irene Hancock. Ray's circle of friends included other women's rights activist such as her mother-in-law Jane Maria Strachey, as well as members of the Bloomsbury Group including her brother-in-law Lytton Strachey and her younger sister's husband Adrian Stephen and sister-in-law Virginia Woolf. Ray died in London in 1940.

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(February 10, 1900-May 15, 1989)

Biographical history

Kathleen Irene Hancock was born February 10, 1900 to Claude Hancock (1872-1955) and Henrietta Maria Wingfield-Digby (1867-1967) of the Wingfield-Digby's of Sherborne Castle. Irene was educated at Headington School for Girls, Oxford (where she was Head Girl) and Portsmouth School for Girls before attending Mrs. Hoster's Typewriting, Shorthand and Translation Office where she took a six month course in secretarial training. She became a member of the National Union of Societies for Equal Citizenship (NUSEC) and served as the General Secretary until 1928. The same year she also helped to organize and taught at the NUSEC summer school, held at St. Hilda's College, Oxford. The summer school offered classes to women in topics on politics and enacting on your enfranchisement. After this point she traveled to Vienna, Austria where she studied abroad and watched over the education of Ray Strachey's daughter Barbara. Correspondence from this time indicates that she intended to return to England sit the bar, however census records show that in 1932 she was working as a personal assistant to the Hon. S. Baldwin. Irene died in 1989 in Liss, Hampshire.

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Scope and content

One handbill advertising Ray Strachey's run for Parliament for the Brentford and Chiswick Parliamentary Election of 1922. The handbill is written in the form of a letter addressed to married women and mothers in the constituency.

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Purchased from Blackwell Rare Books in 2019.


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Described JB 2019

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