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Discrete CollectionsThe Women's Library
TitleHalpern, Mrs Barbara
Ref No8SUF/B/122-123
Box Fetch NoBox 1: Disc 25
DateJan 1977
Extent122-123a - 13:12 mins, 122-123b - 49:44 mins, 122-123c - 63:27 mins
Admin Biographical HistorySee biographies for Barbara Halpern, Ray Strachey and Pippa Strachey
DescriptionInterviewee is the daughter of Ray Strachey. Also see related interview [8SUF/B/132]. Interview is in three parts 8SUF/B/122-123a, 8SUF/B/122-123b and 8SUF/B/122-123c.

Interview summary, 8SUF/B/122-123a:
0:00 mins:
About her mother (Ray Strachey): her excitement at new professions opening up to women and this being her inspiration when she wrote 'The Cause'; her wish for her daughter to become Lord Chancellor; her particular fondness of the picture of the woman chimney sweep in 'The Cause'; her avid reading and love of books including trashy novels; her third class degree; her kindness, understanding and generosity to her daughter; her attitude to sexual matters including an amusing anecdote..

Interview summary, 8SUF/B/122-123b:
0:00 mins:
Ray Strachey's passionate love for her son; her role as tactician compared to Pippa Strachey's role as strategist; her extrovert personality compared to Pippa Strachey's retiring one; her intelligence as practical and applied rather than theoretical and abstract; her boredom with the Stracheys' intellectual and literary conversations. Virginia Woolf. Ray Strachey's wit.

15:00 mins:
Ray Strachey's pragmatic and manipulative personality. Comparison with Beatrice Webb. Her lack of interest in image and appearances. Her use of the term 'equal woman'. The immense laughter in the Strachey family. Ray Strachey's early death followed by a biography by her mother - Barbara Halpern's critique of this. The relationship between Ray and her mother, and between her mother and grandmother. Family attitude to children and their importance.

30:00 mins:
Ray Strachey being brought up by her grandmother and the positive influence it had on her. Her relationship with her mother in later life: having her to stay out of a sense of family duty, her trips to see her mother in Italy dominated by her strong dislike of the socialising there. Her writing and practise of it. Her love of literature especially American history and biography. Her lack of interest in the arts. Her peripheral relation to Bloomsbury - she was a 'Bloomsbury type', rather than central to Bloomsbury. Her stays with Virginia Woolf and Leonard, Vanessa Bell, Lytton Strachey. Her liking of The Stracheys, especially the women. Her dislike of philosophical conversation.

45:00 mins:
Ray Strachey meeting the Strachey family and dining with them - her anecdote about it. Her desire to marry into the Strachey family. Her fondness of them, and vice versa.

Interview summary, 8SUF/B/122-123c:
0:00 mins: Her father Oliver Strachey's personality and lifestyle. Her mother and father's enjoyment of each other, their shared and ardent belief in individual and personal independence. The 1929 flood and anecdotes. The house in Marsham Street. Ray Strachey's way of bringing the children up - what she valued and nurtured in them. Her playfulness and love of physical outdoor activities, especially fruit picking. Barbara Halpern's view of her as a wonderful mother, always there for her children. Her father's notion of child rearing. Ray Strachey's early death and how she was missed. Nancy Astor. Barbara Halpern's letter writing to insist that the Women's Employment Federation (WEF) remain active after her mother's death.

15:00 mins: Irene Hutton taking over the WEF. Ray Strachey taking on the family belief of raising children as being most valuable. Her looking after several children in the family at various times. Her difficulty with Julia Strachey. Her efforts in choosing schools for her daughter, getting her children away from Bloomsbury. Her emphasis on good food. Her lack of interest in house work, anything to do with appearances or the stereotypically feminine. Anecdotes about her evenings out in ball dress. Mud House, the building of it and her relation to it. Her attire and eccentricities. Her friendliness with those who worked for her.

30:00 mins: Pippa Strachey's social manner, laugh and presence. Barbara Halpern's argument with Virginia Woolf about the Stracheys. Virginia Woolf visiting Mud House. Characteristics of Mud House. Pippa Strachey: her habits and peculiarities; her great interest in people and ability to listen to them; her affection; her sympathy; her appearance; her later life difficulties and blindness. Pippa, Ray and Dorothy Strachey's close relationship and friendship (sisters). Ray Strachey's upbringing and how it influenced her rearing of her own children. How losing one's temper was viewed in the family.

45:00 mins: Ray Strachey's view of emotions and how her daughter responded to this, including an anecdote. Ray and Pippa Strachey's relationship and work. Other congenial friendships. Her marriage and immediate family. More on her writing, especially 'The Cause'. Barbara Halpern's interest in 'The Cause' and subsequent lectures. Ray Strachey's attitude to being shown emotion, jealousy and taking offence. WEF.

60:00 Barbara Halpern's final memory of her mother. Bedford House. Secretarial help.
Related Record8SUF/B/132
Access StatusOpen
Access ConditionsInterview recordings are available online and can be accessed at the link provided in this record.
Former Reference NumberTape 42
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