Papers of Jessie Street

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Jessie Street was a leading feminist. She was active in Australian and international organisations concerned with the causes she supported. Her papers from 1914 to 1968 in the National Library of Australia document her personal and family life, political involvement in women’s issues and feminist activities, the peace movement and campaigns to ban nuclear weapons, the formation of the United Nations and the UN Status of Women Commission, relations between Australia and Russia, Indigenous Australian rights and race relations. The collection includes manuscript and printed material, correspondence, speeches, texts of broadcasts, financial records, meeting papers, diaries, objects, photographs, maps, her poems, and drafts of her autobiography (the second volume was never published).

Jessie Street was a participant in significant world events, including involvement in the British suffragette movement and was the only woman in Australia’s delegation to the founding conference of the United Nations in 1945. Her death in 1970 coincided with the emergence of the Women’s Liberation Movement in Australia and ‘second wave’ feminism.

The Papers of Jessie Street constitute an extensive assemblage of papers that comprehensively document the achievements of a prominent Australian activist for the rights of women, peace and disarmament, and the rights of Indigenous people over six decades in the twentieth century.