‘Archivist, Historian and Trailblazer’

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By | From the Collections

The first issue of new history magazine HerStoria, includes a feature on Dr Lesley Hall, Senior Archivist at the Wellcome Library, the title of which we’ve quoted above.

The article rightly hails Lesley’s work as both an archivist and historian:

“If you are a Radio 4 listener, Lesley Hall’s name may be familiar. Over the past year or so her voice has been heard regularly over the airwaves, including on the Archive Hour programme ‘Love at the Lighthouse’ about Marie Stopes and on Case Notes, talking about the history of abortion. Lesley has also cropped up on on Women’s Hour several times where she explored various aspects of the history of women’s health such as medical attitudes to childbirth and the treatment of women’s cancers.

As well as being an archivist at the Wellcome Library in London, Lesley is also one of the UK’s leading historians of sexuality. Her books include Sex, Gender and Social Change in Britain (2000) and Outspoken Women (2005) an anthology of women’s writing on sex between 1870-1969.

Lesley’s contribution to the development of women’s history as a discipline, and to bringing it to a wider audience, has been tremendous. She has achieved this in part by encouraging people to look at history from a fresh perspective and discover different histories. Some ten or so years ago Lesley was one of the first to set up a website that explored and reflected on issues in women’s history (almost ‘blogging’ even before the term was invented)”.

The article also describes and is illustrated by some of the many sources for women’s history available at the Wellcome Library. The issue of Herstoria also includes a Women’s History Walk around Bloomsbury, designed by Lesley (and still available through her website).

Ross Macfarlane

Ross Macfarlane is the Research Engagement Officer at the Wellcome Library.

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