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Last updated:28 May 2015

Suffragette Pamphlet by Cicely Hamilton

September's object is a pamphlet by Cicely Hamilton - 'Beware! A warning to suffragists'

Veronica Trick, volunteer, chose this month's object:

suffragists pamphlet

I love this pamphlet. I also love the fact that when the women's movement was at its grimmest with forced feeding and hunger strikes Cicely Hamilton was using humour to show just how ludicrous the arguments of those who opposed votes for women were.

You can see why she would be a friend of the playwright George Bernard Shaw and it would be wonderful to see one of her plays.'

‘I can relate to her rejection of Pankhursts' dress code which many working class women could not possibly aspire to when Cecily wrote':

"There was no costume code among non-militant suffragists but in the WSPU the coat and skirt effect was not favoured: all suggestions of the masculine was carefully avoided, and the outfit of a militant setting forth to smash windows would probably include a picture hat."

suffragists pamphlet(The WSPU was the Women's Social and Political Union, a militant suffragist organization founded in Manchester in 1903 by Emmeline and Sylvia Pankhurst. As a result of their direct action the Daily Mail dubbed them "Suffragettes", a title which they happily adopted.)


About Cicely Hamilton

Cicely Mary Hamill was born in 1872. After going to boarding school in Malvern she became a pupil teacher in the early 1890s. She left to become an actress with a touring company and at the same time changed her surname to Hamilton. During this time she also began writing plays. Her most well known play is Diana of Dobson's.

In 1908 she joined the WSPU, but disliked the way Emmeline Pankhurst ran the organisation and soon left to join the Women's Freedom League. She was also a founder member of the Actresses' Franchise League and the Women Writers Suffrage League.

During World War One she was a nurse and later started a repertory company to entertain troops. After the War she became a freelance journalist. She died in 1952.

suffragists pamphlet
September 2009

Click here for information about the suffragette, Annie Kenney


Resources about Cicely Hamilton and other suffragettes in the library collection

Cicely Hamilton, Beware!: a warning to suffragists (1982) - Shelfmark: AG Suffragette Movement Box 1

Cicely Hamilton, The march of the women: dedicated to the women's social and political union (1911) - Shelfmark: AG Suffragette Movement - Box 2

Lis Whitelaw, The life and rebellious times of Cicely Hamilton: actress, writer, suffragist (1990) Shelfmark: M21

Sylvia Pankhurst, The suffragette movement: an intimate account of persons and ideals (1931) - Shelfmark: H44

Hannah Mitchell, The hard way up: the autobiography of Hannah Mitchell, suffragette and rebel (1968) - Shelfmark: B10

Molly Murphy, Molly Murphy: suffragette and socialist - autobiography (1998) - Shelfmark: JS26

Carol Drinkwater, Suffragette: the diary of Dollie Baxter, London 1909-1913 (2003) - Shelfmark: N06

Doris Nield Chew, The life and writings of Ada Nield Chew (1982) - Shelfmark: E02

Constance Lytton and Jane Warton, Prisons and prisoners: some personal experiences (1914) - Shelfmark: A14

Margaret E Thompson and Mary D Thompson, They couldn't stop us: experiences of two (usually law-abiding) women in the years 1909-1913 (1957) - Shelfmark: AG Suffragette Movement -Box 1

Diane Atkinson, Mrs Broom's suffragette photographs: photographs by Christina Broom 1908 to 1913 (no date) - Shelfmark: AG Suffragette Movement Box 1