Davies, Emily, 1830-1921

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Sarah Emily Davies 1875-1945, of Wenallt, Llandegfan was one of Anglesey's most prominent figures. She was the daughter of John Matthews of Amlwch who was Justice of the Peace and for many years chairman of the local magisterial branch. Since its inception Mrs Davies was honorary secretary of the Anglesey County Nursing Association. She was also a member of the Education Committee, Chairman of the School Management Sub Committee and involved with the Anglesey Rural Community Council and the Women's Institute.

She was married to Captain A. Stanley Davies.

From the guide to the Sarah Emily Davies Papers, 1916-1945, (Bangor University)

Sarah Emily Davies (always known as Emily), 1830-1921, was a pioneer and a leader in the campaign for women's education. Her papers reflect the work which she and her contemporaries accomplished for women in both educational and political fields and, in particular, her role in the foundation and early years of Girton College, Cambridge.

Emily Davies was born in Southampton on 22 April 1830, the daughter of the evangelical Anglican clergyman, John Davies. She spent most of her youth in Gateshead, Co. Durham, where her father was Rector of St Mary's Church from 1839 until his death in 1861. However, visits to her brother, a clergyman in London, drew her into the Langham Place Group network and led her to examine the lives of women in Gateshead and to found a branch of the Society for the Promotion of the Employment of Women in the North East.

After her father's death she moved to London in 1862 which brought her into closer contact with friends such as Elizabeth Garrett (Anderson) and Barbara Leigh Smith (Bodichon) and enabled her to play a more active role in the women's movement. She immediately became involved with campaigns to improve women's education, including those to admit women to University of London degrees, to admit girls to the Cambridge Local Examinations and for the inclusion of girls' schools in the Schools Enquiry Commission. These campaigns led to other activities; she was a founder of the Kensington Society and of the London Association of Schoolmistresses and she was one of the first women to be elected to the London School Board. She was also active in the campaign for women's suffrage.

Although her early successes were in securing improved secondary education for girls, Emily Davies' central concern was the provision of higher education for women, and it is for this that she is best remembered. Her vision to establish a college 'designed to hold in relation to girls' schools and home teaching a position analogous to that occupied by the universities towards public schools for boys' provided the first opportunity in the country for women to receive a university education on exactly the same terms as men and led to the foundation of Girton College in 1869.

Apart from periods of residence at Girton College, Emily Davies continued to live in London until her death, and after her retirement from Girton resumed her involvement in the suffrage movement. Throughout her life she was an active and vigorous committee woman. She published extensively on educational and suffrage issues and she was for a period editor of both the English Woman's Journal and the Victoria Magazine.

From the guide to the Personal Papers of Sarah Emily Davies, 1856-1978, (Girton College Library, University of Cambridge)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Personal Papers of Sarah Emily Davies, 1856-1978 Girton College Library, University of Cambridge
referencedIn Blackwell family. Papers, 1832-1981 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Chatfield-Davies-Ives family letters, 1824-1884. New York State Historical Documents Inventory
creatorOf Davies, Emily, 1830-1921. The papers of Emily Davies and Barbara Bodichon from Girton College, Cambridge, 1849-1921 (inclusive), [microform]. Yale University Library
referencedIn Blackwell family. Papers, 1832-1981 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Clay, John, 1796-1858. Correspondence : 1821-1873. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Personal Papers of Margaret Stephen, 1925-1945 Girton College Library, University of Cambridge
creatorOf Smallfield, Fred. Album of letters, photographs, and drawings : [England], [bulk 1860s-1870s]. Pierpont Morgan Library.
creatorOf Sarah Emily Davies Papers, 1916-1945 Bangor University
referencedIn Personal Papers of Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, 1801-2000 Girton College Library, University of Cambridge
referencedIn Personal Papers of Llewellyn Davies, 1874-1894 Girton College Library, University of Cambridge
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Anderson, Elizabeth Garrett, 1836-1917 person
associatedWith Anglesey County Nursing Association corporateBody
associatedWith Beale, Dorothea, 1831-1906 person
associatedWith Blackwell family. family
associatedWith BLACKWELL FAMILY family
associatedWith Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith, 1827-1891. person
associatedWith Buss, Frances Mary, 1827-1894 person
associatedWith Chatfield family. family
associatedWith Clay, John, 1796-1858. person
associatedWith Davies |Margaret Caroline Llewelyn | Fl 1861-1904 person
associatedWith Davies Sarah Emily 1875-1945 person
associatedWith Fawcett, Millicent Garrett, Dame, 1847-1929 person
founderOf Girton College (University of Cambridge) corporateBody
memberOf London School Board corporateBody
associatedWith Mill, John Stuart, 1806-1873 person
associatedWith National Federation of Women's Institutes corporateBody
associatedWith North Wales Nursing Association corporateBody
associatedWith Smallfield, Fred. person
associatedWith Stephen | Lady | Margaret Thyra Barbara Shore Nightingale | 1872-1945 person
alumnusOrAlumnaOf University of Glasgow. corporateBody
associatedWith Women's Institute Wales corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Southampton ENG GB
Community organization Wales History 20th century
Medical education
Girls education
Nursing Wales, North History 20th century
Public welfare Wales History 20th century
Women journalists
Women's education
Women's employment
Women's suffrage


Birth 1830-04-22

Death 1921-07-13




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