Women's Activism NYC

Vera Brittain

1893 - 1970

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"Politics are usually the executive expression of human immaturity." Brittain was an only child and she was the daughter of Thomas Brittain who was a wealthy paper manufacturer and then they had moved to a spa resort in Buxton in Derbyshire. Her father had held two paper mills, which was in Hanley and Cheddleton. On 1907, they had lived in the High Leigh House for two years then they had moved out to Melrose. Vera had been received education at home and then had also went to boarding school at Kingswood, where her teacher, Miss Health Jones had introduced her ideas of Dorothea Beale and Emily Davies. Miss Health Jones had given her books on the women's movement and had took her and one of the other two senior girls to a constitutional suffrage meeting at Tadworth village. Vera had been deeply influenced by reading "Women and Labour" which was by Olive Schreiner. Vera wanted to attend Oxford University, but her father had different views from her from attending college. She had attended a course in Oxford University which was taught by John Marriot. Besides her fathers views about womens education, she had received admission to a women's established colleges. Vera had also applied to join the voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) where she was a nurse and on November 1915, she was posted to be at the First London General Hospital at Camberwell. One of the most difficult part of her job was seeing the parent's reactions of the wounded soldiers. Vera had also been involved in an operation and after that operation she wished she had never been born. Vera would write down her thoughts in her diary and mostly it was about the soldiers and her traumatic experiences sympathizing with many of the soldiers. Vera had gotten engaged to Roland Leighton on August 1915. On November 26th, 1915 he had written a letter to Vera where he had discussed his views on the war and he thought it was a waste of youth. On December 22nd, 1915 Ronald had been shot by a sniper, he was wounded in the military hospital at Louvencourt. After knowing the death of her brother and her fiancee, she had decided to become a pacifist. Vera wrote about her wartime experience, which became one of her bestsellers "Testament of Youth" and she was a key figure in the Peace movement, she had also led the Peace Pledge Union during the World War II.

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