Detail from the 1908 Annual Congress (ref U DCW/6/2)

Cooperative Women's Guild and the International Cooperative Women's Guild

Background to the Collections

In 1883 Alice Acland and Mary Lawrenson founded the Women’s League for the Spread of Cooperation, changing the name to the Women’s Cooperative Guild in 1885. In 1889 Margaret Llewelyn Davies took over as General Secretary from Lawrenson. The guild aimed to improve the political, legal and social position of women through lobbying and education.

In 1921 the work of the Women’s Cooperative Guild led to the establishment of the International Cooperative Women’s Guild, with Emmy Freundlich as president and Honora Enfield as General Secretary. In 1963 it became a Committee of the International Cooperative Alliance in an effort to work more closely with the cooperative movement as a whole. For the same reasons, and in the same year, the Women’s Cooperative Guild changed its name to the Cooperative Women’s Guild.

What do the collections contain?

The Cooperative Women’s Guild collection (ref U DCW) covers the period 1886-1971. Records include minutes, reports, photographs, publications, handbooks, rules, resolutions, subject files and notes for speakers.

The International Cooperative Women’s Guild collection (ref U DCX) covers the period 1921-1961. Records include minutes, conference files, reports, circulars and pamphlets.

What areas of research would the collections support?

This collection would support research into the cooperative movement, Labour history, socialism, working class history, women’s rights and feminism, the operation of voluntary associations, WWI, WWII and the history of pacifism.

Are there any access issues?

This material has been catalogued and is available to public access.

Is there any related material?

There are a number of related collections amongst the collections incuding the Cooperative Women’s Guild (Hull Branch) (ref U DCWH) and a Scrapbook of the Cooperative Women’s Guild (Hull Branch) (ref C DSCG) as highlighted on our introduction to politics and campaigning collections.