Suffragette Stories

Friendship

Letter from Mary Blathwayt to Annie Kenney including tree clippings<br />

Tree clipping from Annie's arboretum.

Annie had a gift with people. Emmeline Pankhurst said that "there was something about Annie that touched my heart. She seemed to have a whole-hearted faith in the goodness of everybody that she met."  The archive records a fun, mischievous personality who was dedicated to the votes for women cause and inspired others. This includes officers who she met in prison such as a prison doctor with whom she “became good friends” during a hunger strike, as she records in her autobiography, Memories of a Militant. Christabel Pankhurst remembered Annie’s “bubbling merriment, in which the crow's feet wrinkled quaintly about a pair of twinkling, bright blue eyes."  She was also very compassionate and self-sacrificing; Josephine Butler described how she "vibrates like a harpstring to every story of oppression.”

Annie and Jessie Kenney

Annie and Jessie Kenney

The friendships binding the suffragettes were intense and long-lasting. Annie described how “the changed life into which most of us entered was a revolution in itself. No home life, no one to say what we should do or what we should not do, no family ties, we were free and alone in a great brilliant city, scores of young women scarcely out of their teens met together in a revolutionary movement, outlaws or breakers of laws, independent of everything and everybody, fearless and self-confident." The archive shows that many of these relationships, particularly with Christabel Pankhurst, Flora Drummond, and Grace Roe, endured for decades.

Friendship