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Last updated:27 May 2015

Correspondence of Ruth and Eddie Frow

Eddie and Ruth first met in August 1953 at a Communist Party Summer School. From this time until they moved to Manchester together, they wrote to each other almost every day. Many of the letters discuss in great detail a passion that they both shared: Books on the labour movement.

Ruth jokes in one letter:
"I really believe you are far more attracted to my books than to me. Were your intentions strictly honourable before you saw my library?"

In this letter Eddie asks Ruth's opinion on a new leaflet on Feudalism and Capitalism. Many of the letters contain their views on books and pamphlets they have read.

letter from eddie frow

35 Cresswell Grove
Manchester 20
29 Nov 1954

Dear Ruth

It is a cold wet night here. In the bus have
been reading the booklet on the transition from Feudalism to Capitalism.

The argument all seems to revolve round
an analysis of the economic factors without taking into account the dynamics of the class struggle.

Reading Vol 3 of Mao's works on Feudalism
in China one is led to compare the two. The first time you have an opportunity to read this I would like to know what you think...

 

In this letter Ruth discusses her trip to a bookshop. She later secretly buys Alymer Vallence's William Morris as a present for Eddie. In a later letter, Eddie describes William Morris as his hero.

letter from ruth frow

16 St George's Drive
SW1
15.1.54

Dear Eddie

...After school , I felt like walking in the mild air, so I walked home; on the way I just happened to pass - or to fail to pass - a very nice bookseller.

...I also looked thro Aylmer Vallance on W. Morris, his Art, Writing; Public Life. Have you got it? It contains some good plates of his work and I confess that to my uncouth and inartistic eye, the patterns are too ornate and flamboyant, almost baroque...

Eddie drew this plan of their first house in Didsbury, Manchester with suggestions of where to place the furniture. 

didsbury house plan

Every room has a bookcase. Ruth jokingly points out in her next letter that Eddie forgot to include the kitchen and other more practical items of furniture in his plan.


February 2012

 

Click here to find out more about our founders, Ruth and Eddie Frow

 

Resources about Ruth and Eddie Frow in the Library collection

Ruth Frow, Edmund Frow, 1906-1997: the making of an activist (1999) - Shelfmark: Q27

Michael Herbert and Eric Taplin (eds.), Born with a book in his hand: a tribute to Edmund Frow 1906-1997 Communist, trade union activist, co-founder of the Working Class Movement Library (1998) - Shelfmark: Q44

Ruth Frow, Roots of our rights: a tribute to Edmund Frow (1998) - Shelfmark: Q49

Workers' Educational Association (North Western District), Manchester working class history walks with Ruth and Eddie Frow (1983-1984) - Shelfmark: AG Manchester Box 5 - A selection of walks bound together

Edmund and Ruth Frow, A trail through Manchester: visiting some places of interest in working class history (no date) - Shelfmark: AG Manchester Box 6

Taped interviews with Ruth and Eddie Frow

Frow Archive (PP/FROW) - 159 boxes of papers including:

  • Eddie and Ruth Frow's personal papers and correspondence
  • Papers relating to the Working Class Movement Library
  • Papers relating to research, articles and publications by Ruth and Eddie Frow
  • Papers relating to the Communist Party, engineering, trade unions and strikes (87 boxes) Notebooks
  • Photograph albums and photographs (19 albums and 3 boxes)
  • Scrapbooks on different subjects and collections of newspaper cuttings
  • Folders of papers and notes relating to different subjects (c.245 folders)
  • Scrapbooks created by Eddie Frow on different subjects (41 volumes)