An Archive Parcel: 1907 and Elsie Bowerman

Wycombe Abbey holds a rich history, founded on 23 September 1896, by Miss Frances Dove, later Dame Frances. Recently, we have shared some our archive footage and images from the Second World War and we are delighted to have received a parcel containing additional archive photographs of Wycombe Abbey from 1907 -1910.

A letter inside of the parcel read: ‘I know that my late wife’s dearly loved grandmother would be thrilled to know that these few relics of her happy school days could return to Wycombe’.

We are pleased to share the below images and we hope you enjoy these as much as we have.

An original copy of the 1907 Speech Day Programme includes some famous Wycombe Abbey Seniors.

Some will spot that the piano solo of Les due Alouettes by Leschetizky, and the song Nymph and Shepherds by Purcell were performed by E. Bowerman. Elsie Bowerman joined Wycombe Abbey in 1901 and led a remarkable life. After surviving the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, she witnessed the Russian Revolution at first hand in 1917 before becoming the first female barrister at the Old Bailey in 1924; she later went to the United States to help set up the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 1947. Elsie Bowerman wrote Stands There a School: Memories of Dame Frances Dove in 1965. After the death of this extraordinary woman in 1973, Elsie Bowerman left the majority of her estate to the Dove-Bowerman Trust which supported the education of young women at Wycombe Abbey for over four decades.

The Dove-Bowerman legacy lives on today in the Dove-Bowerman Society, which recognises the benefaction of those who have made provision of a gift in their will to School.

It is wonderful to receive such a programme for our records. Who knows which future world-changing women currently grace our School leaflets and publications? We are sure there are many.

A thank you to the family of 1907 pupil Beatrix Watts for these wonderful images and original items. We have included a further booklet of photographs from around the school for your enjoyment below.