|Description||The papers consist of a large volume of personal and formal correspondence written to Cynthia Mosley, together with press cuttings and publications containing information about her, and personal papers including material relating to her public and political life. Most of the material dates from after her marriage to Oswald Mosley in 1920, although there is a substantial amount of family correspondence and letters written to Cynthia by schoolfriends and officers serving in the First World War that predates this. |
The extensive correspondence, which makes up the majority of these papers, provides a valuable source for the study of Cynthia's family and personal life, illuminating her social life and her relationships with friends, and giving a view of her social network, drawn from individuals and families from the English aristocracy, but also including people active in the arts, and in politics. However, there is no correspondence in these papers between Cynthia and her husband, Oswald Mosley.
The papers also include formal correspondence relating to Cynthia Mosley's public and political life, including letters relating to her participation in public and charitable work, particularly with hospitals and womens' groups, at Harrow, when Oswald Mosley was MP there in the early 1920s, later correspondence relating to her interest in labour conditions, poverty and social welfare after joining the Labour Party, and letters from 1929-1931 relating to her work as Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent.
Press cuttings and publications also document Cynthia Mosley's political activities, and the papers also include notes for and drafts of some of her speeches. Taken together with the correspondence, this material provides evidence of Cynthia's genuine commitment to the Labour movement in her own right, as well as her loyalty in supporting her husband's political career during the 1920s and early 1930s.
|Administrative History||Cynthia Blanche Curzon, second daughter of Lord George Nathaniel Curzon and Mary Leiter of Chicago, daughter of Levi Zeigler Leiter, was born on 23 Aug 1898. She spent her early childhood in India, where her father was Viceroy from 1898 to 1905. After her mother's death in 1906, Cynthia, usually known as 'Cimmie' and her sisters, Irene, sometimes known as 'Nina', and Alexandra, always known as 'Baba', lived at either Carlton House Terrace, London or Hackwood Park in Hampshire and were largely educated at home. Cynthia spent two terms at The Links boarding school for girls in Eastbourne in 1916, and worked as a clerk at the War Office during the winter of 1917-1918. In 1918 she worked on a farm as a landgirl, and also did a welfare course at the London School of Economics which included social work in the East End. She met Oswald Mosley in 1919 while campaigning for Nancy Astor, a friend of her father, in the Plymouth by-election. They became engaged in March 1920, and were married 11 May 1920. They had three children; Vivien, born in 1921, Nicholas, born in 1923 and Michael, born in 1932. Cynthia strongly supported her husband in his political career, and involved herself in public and charitable works in Harrow, where he was Conservative MP from 1919 to 1922 and Independent MP from 1922-1923. When he joined the Labour Party in 1924 she also became a member, and was selected as prospective parliamentary candidate for Stoke-on-Trent. She took a keen interest in labour conditions, unemployment and poverty and accompanied her husband on fact finding trips to India in 1925 and the United States of America in 1926. She also took an active role in Oswald Mosley's election campaigns during the 1920s and spoke at political meetings. In 1929 she was elected Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent and served until 1931 when she stood down due to ill health. She resigned from the Labour Party in March 1931 in support of her husband who was then in the process of forming the New Party. Cynthia Mosley initially took an active role in New Party politics, but after the defeat of all their candidates in the General Election of 1931 she seems to have ceased all practical involvement in politics, and so was not involved in Oswald Mosley's formation of the British Union of Fascists from what remained of the New Party in 1932. She suffered increasingly from ill health during the early 1930s, and was often unwell with kidney problems. Cynthia Mosley was taken ill with appendicitis and died of peritonitis on 16 May 1933. |
Sources: Nicholas Mosley, The Rules of the Game, 1982; Anne de Courcy, The Viceroy's Daughters: The Lives of the Curzon Sisters, 2000