Bridges-Adams, Mary

Biographical notes:

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Mary Jane Bridges-Adams (née Daltry, 1854–1939), left-wing socialist especially interested in educational matters, a leading propagandist of educational reform, was born on October 19, 1854 at Maesycwmer, Bedwas, Monmouthshire, south Wales.

She was a member of the London School Board (1897-1903) and stood for free, compulsory education, for a secular curriculum, and for equal educational opportunity; a member of the Woolwich branch of the Women's Co-operative Guild (1890s); an honorary member of an association of trade union officials to facilitate the exchange of information on the legal position of trade unions. Bridges-Adams was involved with the Froebel movement. In 1901, Mary Bridges-Adams initiated the foundation of the National Labour Education League. She became a close friend of the Countess of Warwick and as her secretary and collaborator ran a London-based office and discussion centre, visitors to which included Gorst, Thorne, and Winston Churchill. Among her achievements was the establishment of the first Open Air School for Recovery in Bostall Woods, owned by the Royal Arsenal Co-operative Society. In 1909 she concentrated on adult education and in 1912 began a campaign to establish a working women's labour college. A year later she established a Working Women's Movement.

In 1914, Mary Bridges-Adams joined the political fight to preserve the right of asylum enjoyed by refugees from tsarist Russia, among whom was Georgii Chicherin, a future Soviet foreign minister. She became a proactive member of the Russian Political Prisoners and Exiles Relief Committee in London. Mary Bridges-Adams died at Princess Beatrice Hospital, London, on January 14, 1939.

BIOGHIST REQUIRED Georgii Vasil'evich Chicherin, (born November 24, 1872, Tambov province, Russia - died July 7, 1936, Moscow), Russian diplomat, revolutionary and later second Commissar of Foreign Affairs, who led Soviet foreign policy from 1918 until 1928.

An aristocrat by birth, Chicherin entered the imperial diplomatic service after graduating from the University of St. Petersburg (1897). He became involved in the Russian revolutionary movement, however, and in 1904 resigned his post, renounced title to his estates, and went to Berlin, where he joined the Menshevik faction of the Russian Social Democratic Party (1905). For the next 12 years he devoted himself to party activities, working closely with the French Socialists and the British labour movement.

During World War I he took part in pacifist and relief activities in London organizing aid for revolutionaries under the relief committee, in which he was aided by Mary Bridges-Adams, and later for the Delegation of Russian Socialist Groups in London. After the Bolsheviks seized power in Russia in 1917, the British arrested him and, in exchange for their ambassador, Sir George Buchanan, released him on January 3, 1918. Chicherin returned to Russia and joined the Bolshevik Party. He then resumed his diplomatic career, participating in the final stage of negotiating the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty with Germany and subsequently becoming People’s commissar for foreign affairs (May 1918). After negotiating treaties resolving territorial and commercial disputes, Chicherin headed the Soviet delegation to the conference of European nations held at Genoa to consider reconstruction of the European economy (1922). There he secretly negotiated the Treaty of Rapallo with Germany (signed April 16, 1922), which established normal commercial and diplomatic relations between the two countries and thereby ended the diplomatic and economic isolation that had been imposed on Russia and Germany after World War I. Although he had little influence in determining the foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Chicherin continued to carry them out skillfully until illness prevented him from performing his duties in 1928; he retired in 1930.

From the guide to the Mary Bridges-Adams Collection on British Labour Movement and Russian Socialists, 1905-1939., (Columbia University. Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


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