6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center

Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist

Ellen Wilkinson, a feminist and socialist, was Britain’s second female cabinet minister and a key figure in the ‘Attlee generation’ which forged the postwar welfare state. But her domestic political achievements represented only part of “Red Ellen’s” larger transnational fight for social justice. By focusing on Wilkinson’s activism beyond Britain’s borders, Beers adjusts our perception of the British Left in the early twentieth century, underscoring the cosmopolitanism of a group too often depicted as parochial and inward looking.

Laura Beers is an associate professor at American University. Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist won the Stansky prize for best book in Modern British History from the North American Conference on British Studies. She is also the author of Your Britain: Media and the Making of the Labour Party (Harvard, 2010), and co-editor of Brave New World: Imperial and Democratic Nation Building in Britain (London, 2012).

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is sponsored jointly by the National History Center of the American Historical Association and the Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations and the George Washington University History Department for their support.



  • Christian F. Ostermann

    Director, History and Public Policy Program; Cold War International History Project; North Korea Documentation Project; Nuclear Proliferation International History Project
    Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Eric Arnesen

    Professor of History, The George Washington University