I have at last had some good news from the Women’s Library at LSE – they have found the Women’s Provisional Club (WPC) archive! Dora was a member from the 1930s to the 1950s and I believe the WPC was a source of female support, inspiration and powerful contacts for her. The Librarian has sent me a few pages to whet my appetitie, before I visit the Women’s Library in person in November (fingers crossed).
Dora was treasurer for a number of years. Sybil Campbell (1889-1977) was a barrister and became Britain’s first female judge in 1945. She studied at Girton College, Cambridge. Miss LD Baynes was Assistant Principal at the War Office in the Second World War. Miss Dorothy Higgins (1892-1970?) was a radiographer and close friend of Dr Dulcie Staveley (1898-1985) who was the Royal Free Hospital’s first woman radiologist. Rose Standfield was a professional singer. Gertrude Leverkus (1899-1976) was a pioneering architect, qualifying from UCL in 1919.
Ethel Wood (1876-1970) was a philanthropist and campaigner for women’s rights who founded the WPC. She was a director at Samson Clark advertising agency in the 1920s and was also the third president of Women’s Advertising Club of London, from 1925 to 1926. In an article entitled Advertising as a career for women, Wood argued that advertising was a democratic profession with only one real acid test: work that “brings results”. Wood concluded: “Having said so much about sex in advertising, in my opinion the more it is forgotten, and folks judged by the quality and effectiveness of their work and not by their gender, the better, not only for business, but for the world at large.”
I can’t wait to learn more about these powerful women friends of Dora’s! The Barcelona Restaurant, where the WPC met in the post-war years, was in Beak Street, Soho, and was a haunt for British surrealist artists and other creatives.