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John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera and Women's Studies: Home

A guide to finding the easiest ways to accessing ephemera of interest to Women's Studies in the John Johnson Collection

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students/researchers studying History and women's studies at the University of Oxford and elsewhere, although students/researchers from any field may find it useful.

Use this guide to find out about ephemera in the John Johnson Collection relating to the women's suffrage movement in the UK, through flyers, advertisements, postcards and more.

Main finding aids

Composite print, titled The ConnoisseurComposite print titled The Connoisseur. The lady connoisseur is composed of prints

There are four main resources you will need to use:


John Johnson online catalogue

ProQuest project

Other projects


The John Johnson Collection of Printed Ephemera is a treasure trove for those interested in Women's Studies in Britain from the 18th century to 1939. Ephemera are uninterpreted documents of the past. Redolent of their period, they give glimpses of what it was like to live at a given time through fascinating details which have often escaped formal history books.

The aim of this guide is to introduce the many finding aids to the Collection and to explain how to use them most efficiently to find subjects, names, places, images, etc. relating to women.  It is not intended to replace the John Johnson Collection website.

Please note that many major sections of relevance to Historians remain uncatalogued at an item level. There are many reasons for this. Funded digital projects have tended to focus on illustrated rather than purely textual material, and even late 19th/early 20th century events such as Women's Suffrage, the South African War, and the Great War contain much which is still in copyright.

Our main advice is that if you don't find what you are looking for online, do contact us:

Key Johnson sections for Women's Studies

References to women are omnipresent in the John Johnson Collection and it is invidious to single out individual sections. However, many of the sections specific to women are not catalogued or digitised, and include:

Women's Suffrage, (11 boxes: not catalogued). The postcards in the John Johnson Collection (Johnson Postcards box 12)  and John Fraser Collection (John Fraser Collection GB3).are catalogued. Many items from both collections were exhibited in Sappho to Suffrage: Women who dared (2018 - 2019).

Artists: Kate Greenaway, Joan Hassall, Clare Leighton and Enid Marx have boxes devoted to them. Records for other women artists represented in the Collection can be found in the online catalogue and in the ProQuest project.

Authors: There are folders or boxes for Jane Austen, the Bronte Family, George Eliot, Hannah More (but see also Ballads) and The Sitwells. Women authors are also represented in Bookjackets (catalogued but not digitised) and, especially, the ProQuest project, which includes Prospectuses of books and journals, playbills and programmes (including dramatisations of novels)

Education: (women are represented in Educational boxes 1-7, 10, 40, 45, 48) but also in Prospectuses for Books and Journals (ProQuest project) and Educational games and alphabets.

Entertainment: see Tab

Valentine cards.  A new index is in preparation. There are many related blog posts, with images on our Pinterest site

Pastimes Embroidery folders, and the boxes and folders relating to Fancy work, Knitting & crochet, Lace etc. are not catalogued or digitised. Sewing Cottons and Sewing Machines is available on ProQuest.

Periodicals John Johnson collected First and special numbers only, including First Numbers, Women's and First Numbers, Novelettes. These are handlisted. but an electronic version is in preparation. See also Prospectuses of Journals (on ProQuest).

Political, Religious, Social and Economic History see Social History and Political History tabs.

Sport The Sport section is indexed but not catalogued.  Many of our most striking images of women playing sport are in advertisements (see the ProQuest project)

Transport see Tab.


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Julie Anne Lambert
John Johnson Collection
Bodleian Libraries
Broad Street
+44 (0)1865 277047

Blogs and Social Media

 John Johnson Collection Now and Then (blog about items in the Collection)