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Speaking as citizens: women's political correspondence to Scottish newspapers 1918-28.

Pedersen, Sarah


Sarah Pedersen


Allison Cavanagh

John Steel


Scholars investigating those who write letters to the editor on the subject of politics agree that the typical correspondent is middle-aged or older, male, well educated, with an above-average income and frequently conservative in his politics. While the majority of research into newspaper correspondence columns has focused on contemporary newspapers, this dictum holds true for historical examples as well. Newspaper correspondence columns in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries were dominated by male, elite voices. However, this does not mean that no women are to be found writing about politics. Women made good use of letters to the editor during their campaign for the vote in order to give detailed explanations of the reasons behind the demand for women’s suffrage and, later, to justify the turn to militancy. Anti-suffrage campaigners also used newspaper correspondence columns to rehearse their arguments and ask for support. In this way, pro-suffrage material was published in anti-suffrage newspapers and vice versa. For example, conservative and generally anti-suffrage newspapers such as the Dundee Courier and Aberdeen Daily Journal frequently carried pro-suffrage correspondence while the more sympathetic Dundee Advertiser and Aberdeen Free Press would publish letters from members of the Anti-Suffrage League.

Publisher Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature)
Book Title Letters to the editior
ISBN 9783030264796
Institution Citation PEDERSEN, S. [2019]. Speaking as citizens: women's political correspondence to Scottish newspapers 1918-1928. In Cavanagh, A. and Steel, J. (eds.) Letters to the editor. London: Palgrave Macmillan [online], (In Press). Available from:
Keywords Letters; Politics; Women's suffrage; Newspapers; Correspondence
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