Australasian suffragists and the international suffrage movement
James Keating

This chapter examines Australasian suffragists’ complicated relationship with the International Council of Women and International Woman Suffrage Alliance, the two pillars of the international women’s movement before 1914. Bookended by the Victorian suffragist Vida Goldstein’s celebrated 1902 visit to the United States to represent Australia and New Zealand at the International Woman Suffrage Conference and her frustrated retreat from organised feminist politics by the end of the First World War, it charts the sudden rise and dramatic fall of Australasian suffragists’ influence on the world stage. Contesting the orthodox claim that distance kept antipodean women on the international periphery, the chapter explores the repercussions of national representation – the cornerstone of liberal internationalism – for women balancing old colonial and imperial identities with the new responsibilities of national and international political citizenship. Australasian women, it finds, were crucial to shaping the norms of international non-governmental organisations as they emerged at the start of the twentieth century.

in Distant Sisters
An anthropology and history of the military interior
Charles Kirke and Nicole M. Hartwell

This chapter uses a model of British Army organisational culture and historical analysis to examine the nature of the ‘military interior’ – specifically the public rooms in the officers’ mess and the artefacts found within. The authors seek to combine their expertise to create a broader understanding of how military culture is lived out in this space, dynamically in terms of how the members treat the mess as both a domestic space and a focal point for performance of battalion and regimental identity, and statically as a place where artefacts – from regimental silver to pieces acquired on imperial campaigns – are displayed. By placing these artefacts in their historical mess settings, this chapter examines the various meanings that can be ascribed to them in this culturally distinct environment. These meanings may be associated with the nature of the military hierarchy; with the expression of mutual respect and affection towards present and past mess members; with operational performance and success; and with the identity of the battalion or regiment.

in Dividing the spoils
Desmond Thomas

The spread of military museums across the United Kingdom reflects the atomised regimental system which characterises the history and organisational culture of the British Army. The history of most British regiments includes colonial campaigns, and opportunities to acquire trophies and souvenirs, an ongoing practice since the beginning of human conflict itself, have rarely been lacking. Enemy weapons, flags and other military accoutrements have always been popular choices as souvenirs but non-military objects, some of which would now be classified as ethnographic material, were also eagerly procured. This chapter examines, using the first-hand experience of the author, the regimental collecting of contemporary or near-contemporary conflict, reviewing practices and challenges. Applying the findings of several regimental museum surveys and other research, these present-day practices will be compared with those of longer established regimental museums to help contextualise and better understand why certain types of objects might have been collected historically. It considers the relationship between provenance and legitimacy both in historical and contemporary contexts.

in Dividing the spoils
Photograph albums in regimental museums
Henrietta Lidchi and Rosanna Nicholson

In his ‘Notes on Photography’ dated 1860 Captain Henry Shaw of the Royal Engineers itemised the uses to which photography could be applied for military and scientific purposes. He notes that over time, capturing scenes, places and persons would prove of personal interest to the photographer and more generally, justifying the physical encumbrance of carrying photographic equipment on campaign. Analysis of photographs and scrap albums recording the 1903–04 ‘Younghusband Mission’ into Tibet takes us beyond straightforward photographic representation into considering the afterlife of the images created on campaign. Evidence of practices of duplication, compilation and curation of images, shows the importance of recognising the album as acomposite artefact, drawing in official and personal photographs. Many of these albums were made after the event, and can include further visual material (eg: newspaper cutting or cartoons). A close reading of the combination of photographic prints on a page, combined with their captions, demonstrates the function of these albums as individual and collective memorials.

in Dividing the spoils
The Australasian women’s advocacy press
James Keating

This chapter details the rise of Australasian women’s advocacy newspapers – rivalled only by the contemporary British and American feminist press in their range and proliferation – as the colonial suffrage campaigns transformed into organised movements in the late 1880s. Considering these titles as a coherent entity for the first time, it reveals the filaments that connected authors, editors, and audiences in a Tasman world and to a wider ‘imperial commons’. It finds that cooperative production, regional circulation, and communal reading practices engendered transnational solidarity, if not always collective action, among readers. Along with its analysis of these papers’ operation and decline, the chapter considers the racial, geographic, and ideological limits of Australasian publications. It concludes with a comparative content analysis of five representative newspapers between 1894 and 1902, finding that the worldview presented to readers was neither as expansive nor as cosmopolitan as its producers and later historians have claimed.

in Distant Sisters
Pitt Rivers and collecting ‘Primitive Warfare’
Christopher Evans

The chapter considers the archaeological activities of soldiers during the nineteenth century, both in Britain and abroad as an adjunct of empire (e.g. India and Palestine). This is not just a matter of skill-set transfer (e.g. surveying) and landscape appraisal, but also the very idea of ‘discipline’ and the organisation of labour. In this, the career of Lieutenant-General Pitt Rivers looms large, particularly for his conceptualization of formal proofs based on his experience in military ordnance and legal proceedings. The contribution also extends to service-based collection activities, such as the Navy’s transportation of antiquities destined for the British Museum and the establishment of the United Service Institute’s museum. The latter underpinned Pitt Rivers’ Primitive Warfare studies and directly influenced his own museum collections.

in Dividing the spoils
Abstract only
Custom and practice
Edward M. Spiers

This chapter reviews the evolution of British military practices in the acquisition of valuable artefacts, battlefield trophies, and other curios from the wars of empire in Africa. It sets the practices of appropriation and acquisition in Africa, which begin with the Anglo–Abyssinian campaign (1867-8), in a broader context, including past imperial practices in India and China, looting in the Peninsular War, and the formal codes that had developed to regulate the division and handling of prizes seized in war. It notes that the quasi-official practices, endorsed at various times by governments and parliament, coexisted with unofficial practices. It emphasises, too, that major acquisitions were brought back for the royal collections, and that the British military were joined in these practices by war correspondents, museum representatives, and colonial allies. The chapter reflects upon the various ways in which items were acquired and traded, and how they were transported from source back to the United Kingdom, noting how some have been preserved in private collections, often within stately homes, or in national and regimental museums.

in Dividing the spoils
Abstract only
Exporting and narrating the female franchise
James Keating

This chapter considers the role of mobile activists in making, sustaining, and severing intercolonial and international ties between women’s suffrage activists. It focuses on three emblematic journeys: the Adelaide journalist Catherine Helen Spence’s 1893–94 lecture tour of Britain and North America, the New Zealand suffrage leader Kate Sheppard’s ‘triumphant’ return to the United Kingdom in 1894–95, and the Australasian Women’s Christian Union president Elizabeth Webb Nicholls’ protracted mission to stitch together a Commonwealth for white women as well as white men during Australia’s federal decade. In addition to illuminating their adventures, the chapter elaborates on the material practices that underpinned suffragists’ journeys, interrogates the centrality of travel writing to their respective political projects, and unveils the silences in these public and private accounts of transnational activism. In doing so, it unsettles heroic narratives about the antipodean women who travelled to teach their metropolitan sisters and complicates typologies of political tourism that normalise the experiences of hyper-mobile elites.

in Distant Sisters
Medical practitioners, birth control clinics and contraceptive efficacy
Claire L. Jones

This chapter highlights the tensions surrounding the increasing competitive nature of birth control clinic supply, particularly after 1935 with the National Birth Control Association’s introduction of standardised contraceptive testing with which the Association sought to define ‘reliable’ contraceptives. Such clinical tests and laboratory tests did not medicalise and standardise contraceptives until after the Second World War, but their introduction nonetheless encouraged competition among a large number of firms and disrupted Lambert’s monopoly of clinic supply. Yet, before the 1950s, agreed contraceptive standards were still in flux and the Association considered the products of certain firms reliable even when they failed the tests. Much of this related to the acceptance of lower standards during the Second World War, but it also impinged on longstanding clinical experience and the fact that clinicians continued to rely on firms who had earned their trust. Price and quality only began to override firm goodwill and brand loyalty in the 1950s.

in The business of birth control
Contraception and commerce in Britain before the sexual revolution
Author: Claire L. Jones

The Business of Birth Control uncovers the significance of contraceptives as commodities in Britain before the Pill. Drawing on neglected promotional and commercial material, the book demonstrates how hundreds of companies transformed condoms and rubber and chemical pessaries into branded consumer goods that became widely available via birth control clinics, chemists’ shops and vending machines, and were discreetly advertised in various forms of print. With its focus on the interwar period, the book demonstrates how contraceptive commodification shaped sexual and birth control knowledge and practice at a time when older, more restrictive moral values surrounding sexuality uncomfortably co-existed with a modern vision of the future premised on stability wrought by science, medicine and technology. Commodification was a contested process that came into conflict with attempts by the State, doctors and the birth control movement to medicalise birth control, and by social purity groups that sought to censor the trade in order to uphold their prescribed standards of sexual morality and maintain sexual ignorance among much of the population. Of wide interest to modern historians, the book not only serves as an important reminder that businesses were integral to shaping medical, economic, social and cultural attitudes towards sex and birth control but also sheds greater light on the ambiguities, tensions and struggles of interwar Britain more broadly. Without such interwar struggles, the contraceptive Pill may not have received its revolutionary status.