Browse Exhibits (13 total)

The Bloomsbury Group

A group of writers, artists, intellectuals and philosophers whose most famous members included the likes of Virginia Woolf, E. M. Forster, Roger Fry and Lytton Stratchey. Although they weren’t organised by any formal structure, each member of the group was united with the others through an abiding faith in the importance of the arts; although the factions of the group were constantly shifting and changing, the artistic output and theory produced by the Bloomsbury Group in the 1920s and 30s had a great impact on the broader cultural atmosphere of Britain, especially London.

The group is often understood in terms of its high modernist attributes: all of the male members of the ‘Bloomsbury Set’ were members of the educated at Cambridge, bar Duncan Grant, and the group’s meetings were often known as ‘Cambridge in London’. The group was made up almost exclusively of upper middle-class professional families, forming what was often felt to be an intellectual aristocracy. Of the women within the group, Virginia Woolf is particularly renowned for her difficult prose and obtuse style; both the intertextuality of her novels and her highly stylistic form lend her texts an air of inaccessibility.

The group was characterised by a certain liberalness, both in its politics and attitudes to sex. Take for example the relationship between Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, a member and an associate of the group respectively. Their affair was not unique, and through the years most of the members of this group engaged in relationships and affairs with one another. These affairs, as in the case of Virginia and Vita, served as inspiration for later works, Orlando being a prime example.

The Hypatia collection includes a variety of materials relating to the groups, including biographies of key figures, photographs and portraits, diaries and letters, as well as written works. 

Zara Ismail

Angharad Miller

The Lady, and Women's Magazines

Lady front cover.JPG

The Hypatia collection focuses on works written by, about or for women. One strength of the collection is the number of women’s magazines available. Some of these include feminist publications such as ‘Spare Rib’ alongside more traditional magazines such as The Lady. The collection therefore includes magazines with different target audiences and objectives which reflect the contrast in social ideals. The Lady magazine collection has a vast catalogue of editions spanning around 20 years (from 1971 to 1990).  Having been in publication since its founding in 1885 by Thomas Gibson Bowles, The Lady magazine is “widely respected as England’s oldest weekly magazine for women”. The Lady magazine is still in publication today, and celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2010, showing its prolonged ability to adapt to changing audiences.

The magazine’s content includes advice columns, health, beauty, fashion, lifestyle, leisure, opinion articles and advertisements for properties and jobs. The Lady is well known for its advertisements for job opportunities such as housekeepers, nannies and other domestic roles and therefore can be of particular use when researching female work. As the Hypatia collection includes a large catalogue of The Lady magazines, spanning over two decades, it provides an invaluable insight into the social changes and context of the time. It demonstrates shifts in beauty and fashion trends, the concerns of women and the expectations for women within these periods.



The Lady’s Facebook page: (Accessed 30 January 2018)

Lowri Williams

Ellie Tosey

Sophie Clark

Bethan Gilson


Clarke inside cover.jpg

Women and War is an extremely broad subject, but the Hypatia collection contains multiple sources concerning a wide range of topics relating to this, including women’s roles in both the First and the Second World War, the various Women’s Military Organisations and even material relating to women in the Spanish Civil War. One particular area of interest within this subject is the historical argument relating to the supposed ‘progressive’ nature of women’s roles and work within both wars, something that can be analysed in greater detail using the Hypatia collection. This angle of enquiry is most evident through considering women’s work within the First and Second World War, for example within the Army Auxiliary Corps (as can be seen in A. Anderson, “Johnnie”: of Queen Mary’s Army Auxiliary Corps, (London, 1920)) or the role women played in the Land Army (for example in V. Sackville- West, The Women’s Land Army, (London, 1944); W. E. Shewell- Cooper, ‘Land Girl: A Handbook for the Women’s Land Army’, (London, 1940)).  As well as this, the collection also holds material relating to women’s personal memories of the war, which would provide an interesting angle to any work relating to this subject. Examples of this include M. Corelli, “My Little Bit” (London, 1919) and J. Comfort, The Letters of Thomasina Atkins: Private (WAAC) – on Active Service, (London, 1918).

Some interesting books about life on the home front can be found in the domestic life section of the Collection. Books from the First World War period such as Mrs C. S. Peel’s cookbook were designed to help women on the British home front to adjust their cooking practices to the lack of food supplies brought about by the war. Similar works can be found for the Second World War such as the War Time Cookery Book which was published by the London Daily Express to help the public to deal with the pressures of rationing.

There are also other books in the Hypatia Collection which discuss the experiences of women behind enemy lines. These include a diverse range of memoirs such as an account about women in the French Resistance, a war nurse serving on the Eastern Front in the First World War, an English woman in Berlin in the First World War, and an American woman living in Russia during the Second World War.

There are also some fascinating works which give readers an interesting perspective into other dimensions of the wartime experience such as Above All Nations which gives an insight into the acts of good will performed by soldiers throughout the Second World War.  

Jess Clarke

Hannah Evans