A Working Woman

Jennifer Holmes


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Troubador Publishing
28 February 2019
ISBN: 9781789016543
392 pages

From the publisher

A Working Woman: The Remarkable Life of Ray Strachey is a traditional biography of a very untraditional woman. Tug-of-love child, Ward in Chancery, pampered schoolgirl, pioneer car driver, would-be electrical engineer, triumphant suffragist, political lobbyist, historian, biographer, novelist, journalist, broadcaster, well-known public figure, enthusiastic bricklayer, devoted mother, despairing stepmother, neglected wife: Ray Strachey was all of these and more. Bertrand Russell taught her maths; John Maynard Keynes fell (a little) in love with her; Virginia Woolf was over-awed by her; Millicent Garrett Fawcett and Nancy Astor depended on her. She inspired admiration in men and gratitude close to worship in women.

As a close colleague of Millicent Fawcett, Ray Strachey played a major, non-violent, role in gaining British women the vote in 1918. She was one of the first female Parliamentary candidates, and became one of the leading feminists of the inter-war years, devoted in particular to improving employment opportunities for women. A brilliant political lobbyist with an extraordinary range of contacts, she was also a celebrated author, journalist and broadcaster, still remembered for her classic history of the Women's Movement, The Cause (1928). She achieved all this as a working mother with overwhelming family responsibilities and an unusual (some said eccentric) private life.

Lavishly illustrated, this first full account of Ray Strachey's life is based on extensive research and draws heavily on her own lively and forthright comments on people and events. Interweaving her public roles with her challenging private life on the fringes of the Bloomsbury set, it features a host of well-known personalities, and introduces a new generation of readers to a fascinating though neglected fighter for women's rights.