Monday, January 28, 2013

More on M.D.R Leys

A reader of this blog kindly found the obituary for Mary Dorothea Rose Leys from The Times of London, published on September 8, 1967:

Miss Mary Leys, fellow and lecturer in history, and a former vice- principal of St. Anne's College, Oxford, died on Wednesday at Exmouth. She was educated at home because "the family was too poor to afford school fees"'. She was awarded a scholarship to Somerville in 1911, where she read history and took her degree in modern history in 1915. After that she gained valuable experience in a variety of jobs, as county secretary for the Women's Land Army and in the Women's Royal Air Force. In 1919 she began what was to be her life work, teaching history for the Society of Oxford Home-Students, as St Anne’s College then was. In 1938 in addition to her work as history tutor she was appointed vice-principal.
She was twice acting principal, once while Miss Hadow was abroad, and again, after Miss Hadow's death, in 1940. She resigned her history tutorship in 1952 but continued her connexion with the college as Fellow and lecturer in history until 1955. She was deeply interested in all Catholic religious and educational work and much of her spare time was spent in voluntary service for the causes in which she believed. She published a book, Men, Money and Markets in 1936, and with her sister- in-law Rosamond Mitchell, A History of the English People in 1950. After her retirement she first published Between Two Empires, a Study of France: 1814-48. In 1957 she was awarded a Leverhulme Research Fellowship, to assist work on a book on Catholics inEngland, 1559-1829, which was published in 1961. In 1958 appeared A History of London Life written by R. J. Mitchell and M. D. R. Leys.

One alumna of St. Anne's College is Sister Wendy Beckett, the hermit, consecrated virgin, and art critic for the BBC. Somerville College boasts many other great alumni: Vera Brittain, Dorothy L. Sayers, Indira Gandhi, and Margaret Thatcher among them!

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