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Frances Melville

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Frances Melville
Frances Melville fair use.png
artist unknown
Born Frances Helen Melville
(1873-10-11)11 October 1873
Merchiston, Edinburgh, Scotland
Died 7 March 1962(1962-03-07) (aged 88)
Edinburgh, Scotland
Resting place Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh, Scotland
Education Philosophy
Divinity
Alma mater University of Edinburgh
University of St Andrews
Known for Women's rights
Higher education
Political activism

Frances Helen Melville (11 October 1873 – 7 March 1962), was a suffragist, advocate for higher education for women in Scotland, and one of the first women to matriculate at the University of Edinburgh in 1892.

Early life

Melville was born in Merchiston in Edinburgh, the elder daughter of Francis Suther Melville, a depute clerk of the Court of Session, and Helen Alexandrina Kerr.[1] Melville was one of seven children; five brothers and two sister. She spent her childhood in Edinburgh, where she was educated at George Watson's Ladies' College and later studied music for a year in Germany.[2]

Education

Following the 1889 Universities (Scotland) Act which allowed women to graduate from universities in Scotland, Melville became one of the first women to matriculate at the University of Edinburgh in 1892. She graduated five years later in 1897 with a first class MA Honours degree in Philosophy. In 1910 Melville was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity degree by the University of St Andrews, the first woman in Scotland to graduate with this degree.[1]

Academic career

Following graduation, Melville worked as a tutor at the University of Edinburgh from 1896 to 1899, where she taught classes on logic, psychology, and metaphysics run by Professor Andrew Seth Pringle-Pattinson.[2] From 1899 to 1909 Melville held the post of Warden of University Hall at the University of St Andrews.[1][3] On her departure she wrote a "Memorandum on the duties of the warden of University Hall" which is held by the University of St Andrews Archives.[4] After a short spell as lecturer in Mental and Moral Science at Cheltenham Ladies' College,[5] Melville succeeded Janet Anne Galloway as Mistress of Queen Margaret College, University of Glasgow, in 1909 a post she held until the closure of the college in 1935. At the height of her career Melville was the most senior female academic in Scotland, notable for her academic achievements and administrative abilities.[1] In 1927 she was awarded an honorary she was awarded an honorary LL.D by the University of Glasgow. She was the first woman academic to receive an honorary degree from the University.[5] In King's Birthday Honours list of 1935 Melville was awarded an OBE.[6][7]

Political activism

Throughout her life Melville campaigned for the cause of women's education. In 1902 she presented a paper "University Education for Women in Scotland: Its Effects on Social and Intellectual Life" at the Conference of the National Union of Women Workers of Great Britain and Ireland in Edinburgh[8] and in 1911 contributed a paper titled "The Education of Woman" to a collection of essays The Position of Woman: Actual and Real.[9] Melville argued that all women should have access to a general education and that the false dichotomy between the female ideals of domesticity and professionalism had a damaging influence on attitudes to women's education.[10] During her time at St Andrews she set up the Association of University Women, from 1930 to 1931 she was president of the Soroptimists Club,[1][11] and in 1935 she was appointed president of the British Federation of University Women.[12][13]

Melville was also an active and prominent suffragette and a member of the Edinburgh National Society for Women's Suffrage, the Scottish Universities Women's Suffrage Union, the Glasgow Women Citizens' Association and the Glasgow Society for Equal Citizenship.[14] In 1906, Melville, together with Margaret Nairn, Chrystal Macmillan, Frances Simson, and Elsie Inglis took the universities of St Andrews and Edinburgh to the Court of Session, arguing that as members of the general council, they were entitled to vote. The University of Edinburgh conceded that

The women have been admitted to graduation in several of the faculties of the universities and their names have been placed on the Register of the General Council. They have attended and voted at the meetings of the General Council, and they have hitherto enjoyed and exercised all the privileges possessed by male graduates of the universities.[14]

However they refused to grant their request. After losing their case in 1907, Melville and her colleagues appealed through the House of Lords in 1908, but again the appeal was lost.[10]

In 1937, after the death of Ramsay MacDonald, Melville stood as an independent candidate in the Scottish Universities by-election,[1] which was won by Sir John Anderson.[10] Melville came second, ahead of Andrew Dewar Gibb and Sir Peter Chalmers Mitchell, with 5618 votes.

During World War I Melville undertook a range of war work related to training women and during World War II she was a driver for the Home Guard.[1]

Death

During her retirement, Melville lived in Dalry in Kirkcudbrightshire, before moving back to Edinburgh where she died on 7 March 1962 at her home on Merchiston Place.[1] She is buried in Warriston Cemetery, Edinburgh.[10]

Legacy

Melville House[15] at the University of Glasgow is named in honour of Frances Melville and the University awards the Frances Melville medal annually to the most distinguished honours candidate in Mental Philosophy.[16]

Works and publications

  • Melville, Frances H.; Donaldson, Sir James (1902). University Education for Women in Scotland: Its Effects on Social and Intellectual Life. A Paper Read at the Conference of the National Union of Women Workers of Great Britain and Ireland, Edinburgh, October, 1902 by Frances H. Melville, M.A., Warden of University Hall, St. Andrews. St. Andrews: W.C. Henderson and Son. OCLC 913571365.
  • Melville, Frances H. (1949). The British Federation of University Women, a History. London: British Federation of University Women. OCLC 806040969.

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Ewan, Elizabeth L.; Innes, Sue; Reynolds, Sian; Pipes, Rose (8 March 2006). The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women. Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 9780748626601.
  2. ^ a b "Frances Melville". oxforddnb.com. Retrieved 9 June 2017.
  3. ^ 1948–, Dyhouse, Carol,. No distinction of sex? : women in British universities, 1870–1939. ROutledge, Taylor & Francis Group. London. ISBN 1134222971. OCLC 959428015.
  4. ^ "Wardenship of University Hall". University of St Andrews University Library Special Collections. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  5. ^ a b Richmond, Lesley. "Second Mistress of Queen Margaret College" (PDF). Women at the University of Glasgow: Past & Present. November 2008.
  6. ^ "University of Glasgow :: World Changing:: Officer of the British Empire (OBE)". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  7. ^ "SUPPLEMENT TO THE LONDON GAZETTE, 3 JUNE, 1935" (PDF). The London Gazette. 3 June 1935. Retrieved 13 June 2018.
  8. ^ Melville, Frances H.; Donaldson, Sir James (1902). University Education for Women in Scotland: Its Effects on Social and Intellectual Life. A Paper Read at the Conference of the National Union of Women Workers of Great Britain and Ireland, Edinburgh, October, 1902 by Frances H. Melville, M.A., Warden of University Hall, St. Andrews. St. Andrews: W.C. Henderson and Son. OCLC 913571365.
  9. ^ Lodge, Oliver (1911). The position of woman; actual and ideal, with pref. by Sir Oliver Lodge. Robarts – University of Toronto. London J. Nisbet.
  10. ^ a b c d "Frances Melville". oxforddnb.com. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  11. ^ "SI-GLASGOW – APPENDIX". soroptimistantwerpen.be. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  12. ^ Dyhouse, Carol. "The British federation of university women and the status of women in universities, 1907–1939". Women's History Review. 4 (4): 465–485. doi:10.1080/09612029500200093.
  13. ^ Dyhouse, Carol (20 March 2006). Students: A Gendered History. Routledge. ISBN 9781134245888.
  14. ^ a b "Remembering Chrystal Macmillan". Dangerous Women Project. 24 March 2016. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  15. ^ "University of Glasgow :: Story :: Queen Margaret Hall (1894–1964)". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
  16. ^ "University of Glasgow :: Story :: Medals and Prizes: Frances Melville Medal and Prize". University of Glasgow. Retrieved 25 August 2017.
This page was last edited on 13 June 2018, at 20:08
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