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Researching Women in Legal History: The case of Miss Bebb

Citation: Auchmuty, Rosemary (2014) Researching Women in Legal History: The case of Miss Bebb. Legal Information Management . ISSN 1472-6696 (In Press)


Creative Commons: Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0

The goal of this workshop was to think about how we write legal biography. Drawing on the research I undertook into the life of Gwyneth Bebb, who in 1913 challenged the Law Society of England and Wales for their refusal to admit women to the solicitors’ profession, I focused on the range of sources one might use to explore the lives of women in law, about whom there might be a few public records but little else, and on the ways in which sources, even official ones, might be imaginatively used. I was keen to indicate the significance of asking questions that mattered, not simply to in order to re-create a life, but to demonstrate its full significance. My argument was not just that these sources and techniques are useful for adding colour and context to otherwise bare accounts but that they are necessary, because a focus on public achievements will miss significant aspects of a woman’s life – even, perhaps, its very essence.

Additional Information: This is a pre-print of an article which will be published in a special issue of Legal Information Management in 2014. It has been developed by the author (Professor Rosemary Auchmuty, School of Law, University of Reading) from a paper she gave at “Legal Biography: a national socio-legal training day” at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies on Wednesday 15 May 2013. The workshop was jointly organised by the British Library, the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies and the Socio-Legal Studies Association.
Creators: Auchmuty, Rosemary and
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Subjects: Law
Keywords: Gender, Gwyneth Bebb, Law Society of England and Wales, law and humanities, lawyers, legal biography, legal profession, legal scholarship, women, women and law
Divisions: Institute of Advanced Legal Studies
Collections: Legal Biography
  • March 2014 (published)


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