The Resource Women, politics and welfare : the papers of Nancy Astor, 1879-1964 from Reading University Library, (microform)

Women, politics and welfare : the papers of Nancy Astor, 1879-1964 from Reading University Library, (microform)

Women, politics and welfare : the papers of Nancy Astor, 1879-1964 from Reading University Library
Women, politics and welfare
Title remainder
the papers of Nancy Astor, 1879-1964 from Reading University Library
  • Papers, 1879-1964, of Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor (1879-1964), including clippings, correspondence, diaries, legislative bills, notes, photographs, publications, reports, scrapbooks, and speeches. The bulk of the collection covers the period from 1919-1945, when Astor was a member of Parliament, and documents Astor's work for children, women's rights, and family
  • The first part of the collection (reels 2103-2122) consists of an autobiography, political diaries, statistical handbook, speeches, and newsclippings. Topics of the autobiography, written in 1951, include Astor's parents, memories of her childhood and schooling in Richmond, Virginia, marriages to Robert Shaw and Waldorf Astor, her Christian Science religion, political career, life at Cliveden estate, an interview with Joseph Stalin, and friendships with T.E. Lawrence and George Bernard Shaw. The political diaries, 1922-1939, contain daily notations on questions, debates, key votes, bills and other business before the House of Commons. The diaries include full texts of all of Astor's parliamentary speeches and an account of how she voted on every issue. Also of note are copies of the hundreds of speeches given by Astor, 1920-1937, including speeches made in favor of restricting the consumption and sale of alcohol. In 1923 Astor succeeded in getting the Intoxication Liquor Act passed, which limited the availability of drink to teenagers. The collection also includes 89 scrapbook volumes of articles and newsclippings organized into American Press, 1919-1940; the British Press, 1908-1964; and Overseas
  • The second part of the collection (reels 2123-2146) consists of subject files on issues relating to children and the family. The subject files are arranged alphabetically and contain annual reports, clippings, correspondence, drawings, publications, notes, memoranda, legislative bills and acts, statistics, and reports. The collection contains subject files on adoption, child welfare, education, family endowment, guardianship, headmistresses, Hong Kong slavery, infant welfare and maternity, milk, playing fields, proposed legislation, juveniles, slavery, and nursery schools. The subject files on education concern children's ages for attending school, repair of school buildings, and teacher's salaries. The nursery school subject files are arranged alphabetically by school name and also contain information on the history of nursery schools and war time nursery schools
Member of
  • Accessioned
  • Described
Biographical or historical data
Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor was born in Danville, Virginia on 19 May 1879 to Chiswell Dabney Langhorne and Nancy Witcher Keene. The family moved to Richmond, Virginia in 1885, where Nancy attended day-school, and lived in the estate of Mirador in the rural settlement of Greenwood. In 1896 Nancy married Robert Shaw, whom she divorced in 1903. After the divorce she travelled to Europe with her mother and met her future husband, Waldorf Astor, in 1905. They married on 3 May 1906 and settled in the estate of Cliveden in Plymouth, England. In 1910, Waldorf was elected to Parliament and in 1919 he was elevated to the House of Lords, taking over his fathers seat. Nancy ran for the seat vacated by her husband in the House of Commons and was elected the first woman member of Parliament. She was a member of the conservative Tory party and was vocal in supporting a women's police force, equal pay and opportunities for women, child welfare, supply of milk to the needy, elimination of venereal disease, slum clearance and better housing, playgrounds, nurseries, prison inspection and the prohibition of liquor. Astor established the Lady Astor Housing Trust, which aimed to provide model dwelling for the working class, and created two recreational centres in Plymouth- the Astor Institute and the Virginia House Settlement. She was also one of the founders of the National Playing Fields Association and helped rebuild Plymouth after devastating air raids demolished the city in World War II. Nancy served in the House until 11 June 1945. Waldorf died in 1952 and Nancy on 2 May 1964.
Cataloging source
Women, politics and welfare : the papers of Nancy Astor, 1879-1964 from Reading University Library, (microform)
  • The Library of Virginia
Cumulative index finding aids
Printed guide available
Immediate source of acquisition
Adam Matthew Publication Ltd.
Organization method
Part 1: Autobiography, political diaries, clippings, and speeches (Misc. Reels 2103-2122); and Part 2: Subject files: Children and the family (Misc. Reels 2123-2146).
Reproduction note
Type of unit

Library Locations

    • Library of VirginiaBorrow it
      800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA, 23219, US
      37.5415632 -77.4360805
Processing Feedback ...