Jane Doe Collection
Jane Doe was the professional name used by Nettie (Ada) Lewis (1891–1979) whilst working as a journalist in the 1920s and 1930s. She wrote a regular column ‘Through the Glad Eyes of a Woman’ for the Daily Chronicle and Sunday News. Later she wrote a Health and Beauty page for Woman’s Own. She was a protegée of the socialist journalist and writer Robert Blatchford. Her articles were collected into book format. She also wrote The Enchanted Duchess, a bodice-ripper novel.
The Jane Doe Collection has just been given to the Library at Oxford Brookes and we are very grateful to Jon Korndorffer and Jacques St Clair for donating their grandmother’s papers. We are also indebted to Jon and his wife Mary for a very generous donation of money to pay for cataloguing and conservation.
The collection consists of scrapbooks of her news cuttings, photographs, correspondence, diaries and account books. Jane/Nettie was a fascinating lady. She was a ‘flapper’ who took off for America, where she met the controversial lawyer Milo Lewis. They returned to London, married and had a daughter Netta. A difficult divorce followed and she then had to make her living as a single mother. Her writing career took off and developed and she was able to sustain a good standard of living until the Second World War, when her freelance work dried up. She published little after the war and instead took to teaching English.
The Collection will be of particular interest to those studying magazine publishing but is also relevant to the history and culture of publishing, the role of women in publishing and gender issues. We are currently working on the collection. If you would like to know more about this fascinating collection please contact the Subject Librarian for Publishing, Chris Fowler: