Gertrude Conolan papers, 1890s-1920s

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Conolan, Gertrude, 1872-1936 and Conolan, Amy Catherine, 1871-1925
Gertrude Conolan (1872-1936) was a women's suffrage advocate and WSPU member in Great Britain. Collection includes an address book with information on different suffrage organizations in Great Britain, photographs and illustrations of Conolan, and select family correspondence. Acquired as part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture.
2.5 Linear Feet (2 boxes, 1 oversize folder)
Materials in English.
Collection ID:


Scope and content:

Collection documents some of Conolan's work as a suffragette in early twentieth-century Great Britain. A small address book contains information about different suffrage organizations throughout Great Britain, and a newspaper clipping previews a June 1908 WSPU suffrage demonstration in Hyde Park, in which Conolan took part. Photographs show Conolan at home and addressing a crowd. Letters from her father and step-mother provide biographical information about Conolan and her family, in addition to a copper engraving plate for Conolan's visiting cards, a ceramic tile photograph (likely of Conolan's mother), and portraits of Conolan created by her sister, Amy Catherine. Also included are some writings about the seasonal transition from summer to fall.

Biographical / historical:

Gertrude Mary Conolan was born on 22 October 1872 to Francis Conolan and Sophia Chetwynd in Cheshire, England. Conolan was a suffragette and an active member of the Women's Social and Political Union in Great Britain, as well as in other groups such as the New Constitutional Society for Women's Suffrage, Actresses' Franchise League, and Federated Council of Suffrage Societies. She took part in suffrage demonstrations, including one on 10 June 1908 in Hyde Park. Conolan passed away in 1936.

Amy Catherine Conolan, Gertrude's older sister, was born on 29 December 1871 in Cheshire. Amy Conolan was an artist and created several portraits of her sister. She passed away in a house fire in January 1925.

The Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU) was a women's suffrage group founded in 1903 by Emmeline Pankurst and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia. The WSPU campaigned for women's suffrage in Great Britain and was militant in nature. The WSPU dissolved in 1917.

Sources: Elizabeth Crawford, The Women's Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928 (New York: Routledge, 1999), 138; England & Wales, Civil Registration Death Index, 1916-2007 (accessed via, 20 April 2023); Manchester Evening News, January 10, 1925 (accessed via, 28 April 2023); Wikipedia (accessed 20 April 2023).

Acquisition information:
The Gertrude Conolan papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book Manuscript Library as a purchase from Marlborough Rare Books in 2017.
Processing information:

Processed by Leah Tams, April 2023

Accessions described in this collection guide: 2023-0050

Rules or conventions:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard


Click on terms below to find related finding aids on this site. For other related materials in the Duke University Libraries, search for these terms in the Catalog.

Suffragists -- Great Britain
Women -- Suffrage -- Great Britain
Suffrage: English
Women -- Photographs
Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture
Women's Social and Political Union (Great Britain)
Women artists -- England


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Preferred citation:

[Identification of item], Gertrude Conolan papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.