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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleThorndike, Sybil
Ref No8SUF/B/063
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 14
Date2 Dec 1975
Extent60:00 mins
Admin Biographical HistorySee biography for Sybil Thorndike
DescriptionInterview took place at 98 Swan Court, King's Road, Chelsea.

Interview summary:
0:00 mins:
Manchester 1908. Thorndike meets Lewis Casson [her husband]. Attends women's suffrage meeting on his instigation at Manchester Trade Hall. Mrs Pankhurst's skill as speaker. Exciting cultural atmosphere of Manchester at the time. Contrast between Christabel and Sylvia Pankhurst. Joins Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU), her activities limited. Casson's politics. Thorndike's dislike of militancy, belief that the vote would be given without militant campaign. Casson's ambitions for Thorndike. Her domestic life. Domestic servants. Leaving the WSPU.

15:00 mins:
Suffrage processions, inability to join in as theatre management disapproved. Her existing freedom as an actress. Actresses not needing emancipation but support of women's suffrage. Member of Actresses' Franchise League. The theatre as a progressive place. Granville Barker. First World War. Women and men's distinct roles. Her daughters' education. Read 'Votes for Women'. Admiration for Emmeline Pethick -Lawrence.

30:00 mins:
Meeting Adela Pankhurst. Emily Davison's funeral. Mrs Pankhurst's change of politics. Christabel Pankhurst as an orator. Lady Mary Murray's friendship. Relationship with her parents: mother's encouragement, father conservative but allowing her to leave home aged nineteen. Her brothers. Long friendship with George Bernard Shaw. The importance of St Joan - the person and the play [by Shaw].

45:00 mins:
Casson's admiration for Shaw. Thorndike's immaturity when young and American experience. Casson's influence on her education in politics. Her first job in the United States of America. Home life before joining the theatre. Visiting slums, teaching at Sunday School. Religious affiliation. Casson's ruthlessness in the theatre.
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 19
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