with Women’s Suffrage
The Story of Catherine Marshall
By Jo Vellacott
Catherine Marshall was a vital figure in the women’s suffrage movement in Britain before the First World War. Using her remarkable political skills on behalf of the major non-militant organization, the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies, she built close connections with major suffragist politicians, leading some – in all three parties – to consider adopting a measure of women’s enfranchisement as a party plank.
By 1913 Marshall was uniquely placed as a lobbyist, with inside information and sympathetic listeners in every party. Through her the dynamically reorganized NUWSS brought the women’s suffrage issue to the fore of public awareness. It pushed the Labour Party to adopt a strong stand on women’s suffrage and raised working-class consciousness, re-awakening a long-dormant demand for full adult enfranchisement. Had the general election due in 1915 taken place, NUWSS financial and organizational support for the Labour Party might well have been substantial enough to influence the final results.
‘The book’s great strength is its insider perspective, based on the author’s exemplary, definitive analysis of the huge archive of Catherine Marshall papers – a source never so thoroughly worked before. The author is clearly the world authority on this material and her work is, in addition to its contribution to British political history, a real addition to the growing corpus of British women’s biography.’
SYBIL OLDFIELD, University of Sussex