Across libraries, archives and other institutions worldwide, the entire month of March is dedicated to celebrating the contribution of women worldwide to culture, society and politics through Women’s History Month. Goldsmiths Library’s Special Collections & Archives is very pleased to be able to participate and celebrate the institutional history of women who have strived to make Goldsmiths College the vibrant and progressive education establishment it is today. In the first of a series of profiles, we look at some of the women who have helped in shaped the history of Goldsmiths College in profoundly positive ways. In 1905, Caroline Graveson, previously working as Mistress of Method and Tutor of Education in the Day Training College at the University of Liverpool, was appointed as one of the Vice-Principals of the Goldsmiths College Training Department. Together with the first Warden, William Loring, and the other Vice-Principal, Thomas Raymont, Miss Graveson was hugely influential in the establishment of a new, co-educational, undenominational and non-resident Training College within the University of London and its constituents.
During her tenure with Goldsmiths, she proved to be a very positive influence on all her students, but particularly for women whom were enrolling in a period where female studentship was a relatively new experience. In the Old Students’ Association Yearbook for 1935 it was noted that ‘her gracious personality, her impelling influence and her complete devotion to the College will be an abiding memory to us all and particularly to the women students (nearly 5,000 of them) who have known her as their Vice-Principal’. After spending nearly 30 years working with Goldmiths, Graveson would retire from the position to pursue writing and altruistic activities in the service of her Quaker religion. Her retirement was short-lived however, and within the year she returned to education and further success when she succeeded the Warden as President of the Training College Association. At a time when Women struggled to achieve the same equality as men, Caroline Graveson is a positive character who was able to graciously overcome adversity whilst paving the way for women to follow after. Please contact Special Collections and Archives for more information on Caroline Graveson and many of the other women who have contributed to the rich tapestry of Goldsmiths College’s progressive history.