Reading Habits of the Suffragette-Chauffeur

Undergraduate Research Scholarship project 2020

Department of History

Project academic: Dr Mo Moulton

Project summary

How do the books we read reveal who we are? How does reading change us? In 1919, Vera ‘Jack’ Holme read Hungerheart out loud to a friend. This classic novel by Christopher St. John explores both queer desire and feminist political commitment. Holme commented: “How well Chris writes the feelings which have come in to my life so often.” Holme was an artist and an activist, most famously working as a chauffeur to suffrage leader Emmeline Pankhurst of the WSPU. Holme was also a compulsive diarist who kept detailed lists on what she’d read nearly every year.

These lists, and the mental world they reveal, form one part of a larger project on queer world-making in 19th and 20th century Britain, and will form the focus of the undergraduate researcher’s summer work.

What you will do 

  • Convert Holme’s original lists into an annotated catalogue
  • Conduct analysis of the patterns revealed by these lists
  • Work with Holme’s diaries to enrich the picture of Holme’s engagement with these books
  • If access to London is possible, will visit the original archival holdings at the London School of Economics

Skills required

  • Must be detailed-oriented and accurate
  • Experience locating books in a variety of library catalogues is desirable
  • Some knowledge of lgbt history and/or literature is desirable

How will the project benefit you?

  • Will gain expertise working with and analyzing archival material
  • Will gain expertise in constructing a humanities database
  • Will gain knowledge about twentieth-century history and literature, especially connected with lgbt, feminist, and artistic issues

Where now?


Professional Services