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Item of the Month

May 2017 - Letter from Miss Ellis, May 1917

This rather poignant letter comes from the Labour Party archive.  Written 100 years ago this month, it is from a young woman in Huddersfield who is pregnant.  The sense of panic and shame in the letter tells us much about attitudes of the time toward pregnancy outside marriage.  The social stigma of illegitimacy was considerable.

Miss Ellis is writing to ask if it is possible that leave can be arranged for a soldier, one Private Harry Tonge, to return to Huddersfield in order to get married.  We have no idea if the request was granted.  There is no record on the Commonwealth War Graves website of a Private Harry Tonge being killed in action.

Letter from Miss Ellis, May 1917