Magna Carta Women: Laurence Housman 1865–1959
Laurence Housman studied art at the Lambeth School of Art and the Royal College of Art in London along with his sister Clemence. He was a talented illustrator and worked with London publishers, illustrating such works as Christina Rossetti's Goblin Market (1893) and his sister's Were-wolf (1896) in an intricate Art Nouveau style. During this period, he also wrote and published several volumes of poetry. When his eyesight began to fail he turned more to writing. He wrote about a hundred published works, covering all types of literature from pacifist and socialist pamphlets to children’s and adults’ stories. Housman held what for the time were controversial political views. A committed socialist and pacifist, he co-founded the Men's League for Women's Suffrage in 1907. Housman took part in the Hyde Park demonstration of 1908. In 1909, Housman and his sister Clemence founded the Suffrage Atelier, an arts and crafts society which worked closely with the Women's Social and Political Union and Women's Freedom League, producing banners and artwork for the movement. When Clemence was imprisoned in October 1911 during another campaign of passive resistance in support of women's enfranchisement Housman was disgusted by the sexual discrimination in favour of male supporters of women's suffrage, as his arrest, unlike that of the female protesters, had not resulted in imprisonment. Houseman was also a strong supporter of the Peace Pledge Union.
What we have in the Archives:
A copy of At the Back of the North Wind, by George MacDonald, with a frontispiece by Laurence Housman. Undated. [Ref: MGC Murray/302].
A copy of The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, with a frontispiece by Laurence Housman. Undated. [Ref: BFSS CASS/46].
A copy of Ranald Bannerman's Boyhood, by George MacDonald, with a frontispiece by Laurence Housman. London, 1900. [Ref: BFSS CASS/47].
A copy of Stories from the Arabian Nights. Undated, but the book was first published in 1907 [Ref: MGC Murray/231]
A copy of Turn again Tales. Undated, but the book was first published in 1930. [Ref: MGC Murray/232]