Ida Leeson was no ordinary librarian. At a time when only men rose to such positions in the Australian library world, she won an epic struggle to become Mitchell Librarian - a position previously held only by men.
Ida Leeson was no ordinary librarian.
The first woman to be appointed Mitchell Librarian, in 1932, after a very public controversy over whether it was appropriate to appoint a woman to such a senior position, Ida Leeson was a girl from a working class background who successfully penetrated the bourgeoisie to become a woman of achievement in what was still predominantly a man's world.
A diminutive, forceful and vibrant woman, Ida resists any easy classification. In what we now acknowledge to be a heroic period of Australian writing and publishing, Ida became a trailblazer for women, for librarians, and a champion of the lively literary culture of Australia in the 1930s and 1940s. She was friendly with many of the leading literary figures of the time, such as James McAuley, Christopher Brennan, Marjorie Barnard, Flora Eldershaw and most notably Miles Franklin, for whom she was a kind of honorary proof-reader and literary advisor. She was also a close friend of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin, and for some time both Ida and her partner, Florence Birch, lived as part of the bohemian enclave the Griffins established around them at Castlecrag.
Brought to vivid life by Sylvia Martin, here is the story of a woman to inspire a new generation of readers - hers was a truly remarkable life in an intriguing era.
Dr Sylvia Martin is an academic attached to the University of New England who has previously published Passionate Friends: Mary Fullerton, Mabel Singleton, Miles Franklin, published by Onlywomen Press. It was short-listed for the 2002 ISAA (Independent Scholars Association of Australia) Book Prize, where the judges wrote: Sylvia Martin reveals herself as not just a researcher or biographer, but a storyteller of the highest order'.
Commended NSW Writer's Centre Openbook Prize for Non-Fiction 2007 AU; Short-listed Nita B Kibble Award, Non-Fiction 2007 AU; Short-listed NSW Premier's Literary Awards 2007, Non-Fiction Award 2007 AU
Table Of Contents:
Part 1: Towards the Mitchell Librarianship
Chapter 1: Not a blue-stocking lady
Chapter 2: A born librarian
Chapter 3: The Mitchell bequest
Chapter 4: Librarians' travels
Chapter 5: Men prefer to deal with men'
Part 2: Outside the Mitchell
Chapter 6: Ida and Florence
Chapter 7: Castlecrag and the Griffins
Chapter 8: The spinster's bloomers
Part 3: Mitchell Librarian
Chapter 9: Secret manoeuvres
Chapter 10: Better friend than foe
Chapter 11: From depression to war
Part 4: Beyond the Mitchell
Chapter 12: A highly peculiar mob of soldiers'
Chapter 13: A researcher to the end
Chapter 14: Acknowledging Ida
Allen & Unwin
Allen & Unwin
Paperback - C format
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Biography & True Stories