Naomi Mitchison as seen through objects from the Glasgow Women’s Library Collections

Curated and written by Giovanna MacKenna.

A black and white image of Naomi, who is looking at the camera with a slight smile on her lips.
Naomi Mitchison

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National War Savings Stamps

During World War One, at 18, Naomi Mitchison joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment to work as a nurse to the wounded.

“I had never done real manual household work; I had never used mops and polishes and disinfectants. I was willing but clumsy.”

Progress Report on Birth Control by Lella Secor Florence, 1956

A vocal advocate of contraception, Naomi was part of the group who, in 1924, founded one of the UK’s first birth control clinics, in North Kensington, London.

A mother of seven children, Naomi was extremely concerned with the effects multiple births could have on women's quality of life.

The open pages of a book showing black text on white pages. A heading reading, "The First Clinics", is visible on the right-hand page.

Page from Progress Report on Birth Control by Lella Secor Florence

Campaign Mugs

Naomi’s 1935 book ‘We Have Been Warned’ caused controversy due to its honest descriptions of sex, contraception, rape and abortion. The book was condemned by critics and rejected by many publishers before a heavily-revised version was finally printed.

Researching Women in Rural Scotland, 2001

Naomi lived most of her life in Carradale, on the Kintyre peninsula, and embraced all aspects of rural life. She was a member of the Argyll County Council, the Highlands and Islands Advisory Panel, and Development Council, and a vocal supporter of Scotland's western isles.

A white page with typed black text. It shows a plenary from the conference titled, "Women in Scotland's Rural Economy"

A plenary from the Researching Women in Rural Scotland conference organised by the Scottish Executive in Inverness, 1 June 2001

Towards Peace and Freedom, 1919

During the 1950s Naomi was appointed vice-chair of the Authors’ World Peace Appeal, a group of more than 70 writers working towards global peace.

During the 1960s Naomi spoke at a nuclear disarmament rally and led a Glasgow march against the planned Holy Loch Polaris missile base. Age didn’t slow her determination to stand up for her beliefs. In her 80s she could be found at the women’s Peace Camp on Greenham Common.

The Greenham Factor booklet with anti-nuclear and peace campaign badges sitting on top of it.

The Greenham Factor booklet with anti-nuclear and peace campaign badges.

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