Divided sunburnt country: Australia 1916-18 (8): Jennie Scott Griffiths: ‘She Fought Where She Stood’

The ‘Divided sunburnt country’ series

Victoria Haskins writes in her Anzac Her Story blog about Jennie Scott Griffiths, born in Texas in 1875, mother of ten children, newspaper editor, and anti-war campaigner in World War I Australia and just after it. Griffiths was an assiduous campaigner against conscription. She worked to

draw the attention of middle-class pro-conscription women to the harsh effects of male conscription on the lives of poor women, and especially children. Jennie particularly disliked war propaganda in the school system: “the insidious poison of the jingoism with which their minds are being stuffed in our schools”.

After the war, Griffiths went back to the United States and remained an anti-war campaigner until her death in 1951. ‘The impact of her years in Australia during the [Great] war had shaped her from a feminist law student into a lifelong anti-war activist of the left.’

Victoria Haskins is a history professor at the University of Newcastle who is especially interested in women’s history from the 1880s to World War II. Her blog pursues these interests. Her piece on anti-war women complements material on the Honest History site, such as Margaret Bearlin’s post on WILPF and our reviews of the TV series, The War that Changed Us, in which one of the main protagonists was Vida Goldstein.

Patricia Clarke has written about Griffiths. There is also an Australian Dictionary of Biography entry.

Read more …

David Stephens

16 August 2016 updated

JSG-Photo-7-Jennie-Scott-GriffithsJennie Scott Griffiths, 1918 (Terry Irving/Gerry Whitmont Collection)

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