The appearance of women's politics in the correspondence pages of Aberdeen newspapers 1900-1914.
A newspaper’s ‘Letters to the Editor’ column represents its readership in an unique way and can provide a useful ‘thermometer’ with which to measure the extent of critical debate and discussion a particular issue generated in a locality. In this article, the letters of women to the editor of the Aberdeen Daily Journal, 1900 to 1914, are analysed to discover the type of political issues with which these women concerned themselves. It is argued that the women must have felt particularly strongly about such issues since they were prepared to take their arguments outside their social circle and to identify themselves as politically active in the pages of their daily newspaper. Political issues dealt with include local government, the suffrage question and government legislation. While much of the evidence used comes from the letters of active suffragists who were usually members of national suffrage associations, it is argued that the period showed an expansion in the type of woman interested in politics, and the corresponding urge to write to the newspapers. This is evidenced in the number of women who firmly stated that they were not suffragists, but became politicised enough to write to the newspaper complaining about the Insurance Act in 1912.