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Helen Caddick and her diaries

Helen Caddick was born in 1845. She had a long term interest in education, travel and anthropology. In 1900 she wrote A White Woman in Central Africa. Caddick was the first woman member of West Bromwich Education Committee and was also one of the first governors of the University of Birmingham.

Caddick lived in York Road, Edgbaston and travelled the world between 1889 and 1914. She visited Palestine, Egypt, Japan, Canada, India, Java, Australia, South Africa, Uganda and other parts of Africa, USA, Mexico, the Caribbean, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Argentina, Cambodia, China, Korea, Burmah and the Phillippines. The diaries record her impressions of the countries and their peoples and include many photographs that she took or collected on her travels. She also collected ethnographical artefacts which are housed in Sandwell Museum. Caddick is an example of a tradition of middle or upper class women who travelled extensively in the 19th and early 20th centuries for a variety of reasons.

The Library of Birmingham has twelve volumes of the diaries, each covering a number of countries and a particular year. Helen Caddick presented the diaries to the Central Library in 1926 and they are stored under the reference number MS 908. Enquires to view this material should be made through Archives and Collections.

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