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.
Jane/Nettie was a fascinating lady. She was a ‘flapper ‘who took off for America where she met 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 freelance work dried up. She published little after the war and instead took to teaching English.
The Collection consists of scrapbooks of Jane's news cuttings, photographs, correspondence, diaries and account books. It offers a fascinating insight into both the working life of a female journalist in the inter-war period and the lives and concerns of her readers.
We are very grateful to Jane's grandsons, Jon Korndorffer and Jacques St. Clair, for donating the Collection to the Library.
Thanks to a generous donation by Jon and Mary Korndorffer the Collection has a full online catalogue. The collection can be accessed in the Special Collections Reading Room.
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