The Archive Collection

Access to the Archive and Museum collections

Following our move to our new permanent premises at 23 Landressy Street, we are preparing for major internal refurbishment works to build our dedicated archive and museum spaces (more information about our refurbishment plans is available here). While this is in progress, there continues to be only limited access to the archive and museum collections and some items remain in external storage.

For more information, please contact the Library.


The Archive collection is broadly comprised of three elements: Archives donated to GWL, the Lesbian Archive (formerly the LAIC), and GWL’s own archives.

Archives Donated to GWL

GWL collects the papers and records of organisations and individuals that represent the achievements and activities connected to women and women’s issues.

Specific collections include:

'Not In These Trousers' postcard

This postcard from the Women’s Suffrage collection prompts a lot of discussion amongst Library users and at outreach workshops.

  • Scottish Women’s Aid archive including newsletters; information literature; files of correspondence and organisational photographs
  • Women’s Suffrage Collection including ephemera such as card games, jewellery, postcards and clocks; Jus Suffragii, the newsletter of the International Women’s Suffrage Alliance and rare books on the topic of Women’s Suffrage
  • Josephine Butler Society which includes the journal The Shield; research files and files of correspondence
  • Scottish and National Abortion Campaign archives
  • Journals including Spare Rib, Off Our Backs, Trouble and Strife
  • Newsletters from the Women’s Liberation Movement including Glasgow, Edinburgh, London and Scotland
  • Scottish Women’s Rural Institute
  • Zines including Yummi Hussi; Essex Riot Girrl; Team Girl Comic and Unskinny
  • Knitting and dress making patterns
  • Girls’ annuals c.1950s – c.1980s
SWRI Hotch Potch Blaand recipe

This unique recipe comes from the Scottish Women’s Rural Institute collection of cookbooks.

Lesbian Archive

The Lesbian Archive was established in 1984 in London, originally under the title of the Lesbian Archives Collective. It later became well known as the Lesbian Archive and Information Centre (LAIC). After the organisation’s funding was heavily cut, the Archive was transferred to its current home at the Glasgow Women’s Library in 1995. It comprises of material including books, photographs, personal papers, journals and ephemera including badges and t-shirts.

Notable collections include:

The Ladder

The Ladder was a pioneering Lesbian publication that inspired other women to create their own works, including Arena 3 – which can also be found in the Lesbian Archive.

  • Camden Lesbian Centre and Black Lesbian Group
  • Records of Sappho journal including files of correspondence, manuscripts and research files
  • Personal papers of activists including Jackie Forster and Ingrid McClements, and writers including Barbara Burford and Rosemary Manning
  • Lesbian pulp fiction c. 1950s – 1970s
  • Rare lesbian journals including The Ladder, Arena 3, Sappho and Raging Dykes Network
  • Records of the Lesbian Avengers, including the London and Glasgow branches
  • Records of Section/Clause 28 campaign

GWL Archives

The Library keeps its own records relating to its ground breaking work with women across Scotland and beyond. Material within this part of the Collection includes Women In Profile, newspaper cuttings, events and publicity material, 21 Revolutions, oral histories, photographs and posters.

Research Enquiries

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about our collections and can help point you in the right direction with your research – please contact us. We will aim to answer detailed research enquiries within two weeks. For research enquiries that require more than 30 minutes we will recommend that you pay for our research service.