In memory of Eleanor Rathbone: ‘From Somerville to Westminster 1893-1946

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Date / time: 22 January, 9:30 am - 4:30 pm

Somerville College

In memory of Eleanor Rathbone: 'From Somerville to Westminster 1893-1946

A one-day Symposium and room-naming ceremony to be held at SOMERVILLE COLLEGE, OXFORD to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the death of Eleanor Florence Rathbone (1872 – 1946), Somerville’s first Member of Parliament

There will also be an opportunity to visit John Stuart Mill’s personal library in Somerville, under the guidance of Dr Frank Prochaska. Somerville has recently completed a successful crowdfunding scheme to restore the damaged volumes.

This symposium is generously sponsored by Rathbones Investment Management and Somerville College, Oxford

KEYNOTE SPEAKER: Professor Susan Pedersen, Professor of History, Columbia University, New York. Professor Pedersen’s presentation, ‘The Ladies Vanish’ will explore the network of female support that underlies Rathbone’s achievements.

Confirmed speakers: Dr Julie Gottlieb, University of Sheffield. ‘Eleanor Rathbone and the Women Churchillians: The Gender Politics of Anti-Appeasement.’;  Professor Pat Thane, King’s College, London. Title to be announced;  Dr Sumita Mukherjee, , King’s College, London. ‘Eleanor Rathbone and Radhabhai Subbarayan: Debates on Indian Female Franchise in the 1930s’


The conference will include papers covering the period 1893-1946 which explore campaigns and issues with which Eleanor Rathbone was engaged:

  • Politics, national and international
  • Education
  • Social change
  • Citizenship and suffrage
  • Family and child poverty
  • Welfare reform
  • Women in the public sphere

For further information please contact Susan Cohen ( or Lesley Urbach (

Book your place at the conference here

Read more about Eleanor Rathbone and events to commemorate the 70th anniversary of her death.