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Personal Papers of Gladys Williams, 1904 - 2013

Reference Code: GBR/0271/GCPP Williams

Scope and Contents

The papers of Gladys Williams consist chiefly of manuscripts of some of her written work (published and unpublished), together with a small quantity of personal and biographical items.


  • Creation: 1904 - 2013


Conditions Governing Use

Copyright in the papers of Gladys Williams lies with John Williams.

Biographical / Historical

Gladys Williams (‘John Presland’) was born on 6 September 1885 in Melbourne, Australia, the daughter of John Frederick Williams, merchant, and Alice Emily Presland. Her parents had emigrated when they married but returned to London after six years in Australia. Gladys was educated successively at Maida Vale High School, a private school in Folkestone, and Queen’s College, Harley Street before studying Modern and Medieval Languages at Girton College from 1903 to 1906. In 1907 she married John Herbert Skelton (known as Bert), who died in 1942. She then married Francis Edmund Bendit in 1943, who died in 1953. Gladys wrote poetry, drama, fiction and biography under the pen name ‘John Presland’ (it appears that she may also have used the pen name 'Myfanwy Sloane' - see GCPP Williams 2/13). She also earned some income from translation work, chiefly German into English. In addition, she held the following positions: Head and Lecturer to Women’s Section, Central Council for Economic Information 1921-24; Lecturer for L N U [League of Nations Union?] 1921-25; London University Extension Lecturer in Literature 1921-27; Ashridge Conservative College 1927-31. She was a member of the Aliens’ Advisory Committee appointed by the Home Office in 1940 and she also undertook work for a number of charitable organisations, including the Save the Children Fund, whose Foreign Relief Section she chaired from 1943. Gladys Bendit died on 29 September 1975. [These notes are derived from the following sources: Girton College Register Vol. I; Who Was Who Vol. VII, 1971-80; and information from family members.]


3 archive box(es) (3 boxes) : Paper

Language of Materials


Other Finding Aids

A bibliography of the known works of John Presland is available as a word document.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The papers of Gladys Bendit, née Williams, were donated to Girton by Gladys' nephew, Adrian Williams, in 2003. The autobiographical materials at GCPP Williams 1/1-2 were donated by her great nephew, John Williams, in 2013.

Related Materials

As at 2013 Gladys' great-nephew John Williams is in possession of several letters which she wrote to her brother, Lambert Williams, who lived in Cape Town, South Africa.


Many of the published works of John Presland are held in Girton College Library.


The name used in the originator field in individual catalogue entries is the name used by Gladys William at a given period of her life. She was known as Gladys Williams until 1907; as Gladys Skelton from 1907-1943; and as Gladys Bendit from 1943 until her death. Her pen name was John Presland, however this name has not been used in the originator field as there is no published material in the archive.


Bendit, Gladys, 1885-1975, née Williams, formerly Skelton, writer

Finding aid date

2003-03-25 14:35:47+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