Author Archives: CollegeinWar

August 1917: “Miss Sorabji’s Work in India”

“Of all the varying forms of war-work on which members of the SSA are engaged perhaps none is more valuable or more interesting than Miss Sorabji’s.” SSA Annual Report 1917 Cornelia Sorabji was a student at Somerville between 1889 and … Continue reading

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July 1917: Transportation and the long vacation

In July 1917, Somerville College held its first Vacation Term. There were (and are) strict rules governing residence for students at Oxford, rules with which Somervillians complied (even though they had yet to be admitted as members of the University). One rule was that … Continue reading

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June 1917: Bertha Phillpotts, the inadvertent civil servant

Somerville was the first women’s college in Oxford to attract research funding, with an endowment from Rosalind, Countess of Carlisle in 1912. The Icelandic scholar Bertha Phillpotts, of Girton College Cambridge, became the first Lady Carlisle Research Fellow in 1913. … Continue reading

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May 1917: The view from the home front

The Somerville JCR held two meetings in May 1917. The subjects under discussion included the usual items of college business such as the river rules, the storage of bicycles, noise in the quad and a vote on taking a college … Continue reading

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April 1917: Miss Lorimer takes a Leave of Absence

Hilda Lorimer was Somerville’s Tutor in Classics (and subsequently Tutor in Classical Archaeology). A Scotswoman from Dundee, she became a fellow in 1896, having taken a 1st in Classics at Girton College, Cambridge. In 1914-15, she taught Vera Brittain, who … Continue reading

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March 1917: The Fritillary’s Literary Alumnae

The college meeting in March was held, in part, to elect junior members of Somerville to various offices, such as the O.S.D.S. (Oxford Students Debating Society) Rep., Fiction Librarian and Junior Bicycle Secretary. The Senior Student also asked for nominations … Continue reading

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February 1917: Conflict and Continuity: war work for University women

Throughout the Great War, the number of Somerville students officially pursuing war work remained comparatively small. However, these were students, such as Vera Brittain, who had taken a leave of absence, most intending to return after a term, a year … Continue reading

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January 1917: Bed-making and Tea Parties; the students economise

By January 1917, the war was taking its toll on the home front. Shortages of food, fuel and staff were resulting in higher costs, at a time when money was also in short supply. Morale was low and for Vera … Continue reading

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December 1916: Saving for the Nation

By December 1916, the war had been underway for almost two and a half years. The cost to the countries involved was unprecedented, both in terms of the casualties and losses sustained and in terms of the money needed to … Continue reading

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November 1916: Somerville’s Parliament debates Universal Suffrage

Somerville’s Parliament, in its debates, endeavoured to examine the issues under consideration by the national Parliament, although limited to just two meetings per term and with far fewer members in attendance. The meeting held in November 1916 produced a fierce … Continue reading

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