Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Caroline Phillips: balancing life as a journalist and a suffragette in a Scottish city.

Pedersen, Sarah



Aberdeen Art Gallery holds a unique collection in the history of the women's suffrage movement in Scotland: the correspondence of Caroline Phillips, woman journalist and honorary secretary of the Aberdeen branch of the WSPU, 1907-09. A Heritage Lottery Fund grant has enabled the production of an edition of this collection and other public-engagement activities, enabling an in-depth analysis of one Scottish woman's engagement with the suffrage movement. Through her correspondence, Phillips wrestled with the demands of WSPU London headquarters for more militant action, was tempted to join the Women's Freedom League, and finally saw herself and her friend Helen Fraser replaced by the Pankhursts because of a reluctance to become more militant. Because of her involvement in the suffrage movement, Phillips found it difficult to gain entrance to some political events in the city, making it impossible to complete her work as a reporter, and was threatened with dismissal by her employer. She was also torn between the demands for militant action of the WSPU leadership and her own instinct for a more conciliatory approach, in particular in relation to the dominant Women's Liberal Association in Aberdeen. Her correspondence reveals the emotional and personal costs of working for 'the cause' in a city far away from the heart of the suffrage movement, but also the fulfilling friendships that sustained and supported her.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Sep 30, 2020
Journal Women's history review
Print ISSN 0961-2025
Electronic ISSN 1747-583X
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 29
Issue 6
Pages 940-954
Institution Citation PEDERSEN, S. 2020. Caroline Phillips: balancing life as a journalist and a suffragette in a Scottish city. Women's history review [online], 29(6): special issue: the women's suffrage campaign in Britain and Ireland: new persepctives, pages 940-954. Available from:
Keywords Aberdeen; Suffragette; WSPU; Pankhurst; WFL