Women of the Week and Dora Russell (1912-1986)
The first woman editor of the Evening Telegram (1945-1949), Dora Oake Russell of Change Islands has left an unique record of an important segment of Newfoundland and Labrador's social history in her "Women of the Week" columns. She gave voice to post World War II women's new occupations, firsts in their fields and contributions to society in general, including several M.B.E. recipients. For an indepth analysis of these articles and other of Russell's writings the reader should consult Tara Harris' thesis A Study of Voice in the Writings of Dora Russell. This webpage presents an alphabetical list of women who were featured in the Evening Telegram each week starting in 1945. It includes some of the "Interview of the weeks" which preceded the "Woman of the week" columns.
It is not clear how or why Russell chose her subjects. Elizabeth Miller, one of Russell's daughters says "Mom's interests were very eclectic - so she would have been looking for women in various spheres, well beyond the usual domestic scene."
The articles reflect a feminist* point of view—it is not only possible for women to do anything but they should be encouraged to do so. The women represent a cross section of society with a preponderance on volunteerism and nursing specifically during World War II, but interspersed also with business managers and wireless operators. Not all the women were from Newfoundland; some were visitors. There is a clear emphasis on education. The articles have been transcribed so the reader can have first hand experience of the writings. The transcription was done using a variety of techniques including voice recognition software (Dragon Naturally Speaking) and therefore the transcription is of varying quality. The photographs which normally accompanied the articles were not reproduced. A thank you must go to The Telegram for permission to provide the transcriptions. A special thank you also is owed to David Browne for his help and encouragement.
Also provided is a database listing the occupations of each woman and some notes from the articles.
*Coincidently Dora Russell (1894-1986) is the name of another feminist—the second wife of Bertrand Russell. (The Tamarisk Tree)
Miller, Elizabeth. E-mail 20 September 2007.
Miller, Elizabeth. Uncle Mose : the life of Ted Russell. St. John's, N.L.: Flanker Press, 2005.
Russell, Dora. Encyclopedia of Newfoundland and Labrador. St. John's, N.L.: Harry Cuff Publications Ltd., 1993. v.4
Harris, Tara. A Study of Voice in the Writings of Dora Russell. Thesis (M.A.)--Memorial University of Newfoundland, 1995.
Russell Collection.Queen Elizabeth II Library's Archives and Manuscript Division.
Evening Telegram (St. John's, N.L.) 1945-1949.
Russell, Dora. The Tamarisk tree. London : Virago, 1975-1985.