Ella Ophir

Digitizing the Notebooks of an Extraordinary Woman

Dr. Ophir’s profile Back to Faculty Profile List

Dr. Ella Ophir’s research is on early twentieth century literature and modernist experimental writing. She is the recipient of a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Insight Development Grant for a research project on a rare book, “The Note Books of a Woman Alone.”

These are the personal notebooks of a British single woman living in London between 1914 and 1934 who spent 10 years employed as a governess. Feeling trapped in the homes of others, she enrols in a stenography class and finds work with an employment agency for governesses, nurses, and superior maids. She becomes an advocate for women who visit the agency seeking work. After working for 20 years, she is laid off with little savings.

An inspiring and tragic tale, the book is a unique record of the life of an unmarried working woman in the early 20th century.

Interested in the process of self-construction in writing, Ophir plans to use the Insight Grant to write about the journals as well as create a digital edition with assistance from the Humanities and Fine Arts Digital Research Centre.