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Personal Papers of Barbara Stephen, 1925 - 1945

Reference Code: GBR/0271/GCPP Stephen

Scope and Contents

These are a small quantity of papers gathered whilst she was working on 'Emily Davies and Girton College', (London, Constable, 1927), and consist of notes sent to Lady Stephen as material for 'Emily Davies and Girton' from the following old students:
Miss A. Lloyd, Miss J. F. Dove, Miss C. L. Maynard and from an early friend of Davies’ - Miss S A Richardson'.


  • 1925 - 1945


Biographical / Historical

Barbara, Lady Stephen 1872-1945, née Margaret Thyra Barbara Shoresmith (later Shore Nightingale) was born in London and attended Roedean in its early years. She read history at Girton 1891-1894 achieving Class II degree. Her father was first cousin of Florence Nightingale (for whom BS kept house after going down from Girton) and Barbara Bodichon, after who she was named. Whilst living in London she was appointed Secretary of Girton (non-resident) 1897-1903. She moved to India on her marriage in 1904 to Harry Lushington Stephen (1866-1945) (later Sir Harry Stephen), Judge of the High Court in Calcutta, where she lived for eight years, learning Hindustani and Persian, met Lords Curzon and Kitchener and involved herself in expatriate social life. She founded the Women Graduates Union of Calcutta, for the benefit of women coming to India, and became committee member and later Secretary of both the National India Association and the European Orphan Asylum. She was involved in the affairs of three hospitals in Calcutta. She maintained a strong connection with Girton throughout her life, returning to live in Cambridge in 1913. She was a governor of the college from 1913 to1938. She became Garden Steward in 1917-19, founded and sat on the Curator’s Committee 1927-40, as well as being an active member of the Building Committee in 1929, where she set in motion the building scheme for the Library, New Wing and Fellows Dining and Drawing Rooms. She is credited as ‘the generous benefactor of Girton library’ in the College Register. She also initiated the commissioning of the coat-of-arms. She is acknowledged as an historian of the early years of Girton, publishing two books: Stephen, B., 'Emily Davies and Girton College', (Constable, London, 1927) Stephen, B., 'Girton College 1869 - 1932', (CUP 1933) In 1932, Stephen left Cambridge to live in Hampshire, where she and her husband lived for the remainder of their life. Sources: 'Girton College Register' 1869 - 1946, (CUP 1948) p. 639 Obituary by Rosalind Nash, 'Girton Review', Easter 1945, p.20 Obituary by Kathleen Butler, 'Girton Review', Easter 1945, p.20. Member of Girton College Council 1913-1932 Governor 1913-1938


4 file(s) : paper

Language of Materials



Stephen, Lady Margaret Thyra Barbara, 1872-1945, née Shoresmith, later Shore Nightingale, wife of Sir Harry Stephen, educationist

Finding aid date

1998-09-03 13:40:49+00:00

Repository Details

Part of the Girton College Archive Repository

The Archivist
Girton College Archive
Huntingdon Road
Cambridge CB3 0JG United Kingdom
+44 (0)1223 338897