This absorbing account of the life and work of Clara Collet, a leading economist, statistician and champion of women's employment, is the first biography of this remarkable woman and reveals through Collet's diaries her fascinating personal life. An early female university graduate (1880), then teacher, she campaigned for the secondary education provision of girls at a time when it was negligible. Her other major contribution was in raising the status of working-class women, becoming a Commissioner for the Royal Commission on Labour (1892). She was close to the family of Karl Marx, particularly with Eleanor Marx, and with Beatrice Webb. Her enduring friendship with the cult Victorian author George Gissing deeply influenced his writing. Her working relationships with Charles Booth, Lloyd George, Ramsay MacDonald and Winston Churchill are also celebrated
'McDonald's informative book contains some rich detail … [It] will be of interest to history students and the general reader keen to find out more about this remarkable woman' - Times Higher Educational Supplement
'This book is indispensable for anyone studying women's history in England in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is the first extensive study of a woman who became an authority on all areas of female professions after retiring from the public services in 1920.' - genderstudies.unibe.ch
Part I Childhood 1860-78: Of Humble Origins; Education and Revolution 1873-78; Dogberrys and Marxs 1873-78. Part 2 Life in Leicester 1878-85: The School Mistress - A Pleasant Life; Relationship, Traumas and Celebrities. Part 3 The East End, Poverty and Investigation 1885-93: Poverty in the East End and the Charity Organization Society; Jack the Ripper and Charles Booth; The Interim Years 1890-93. Part 4 A New Way of Life: 1893-1910: The Civil Service - A Suitable Career for a Woman?; George Gissing - "Born in Exile"; George and Clara - An Intimate Friendship?; Aftermath. Part 5 An Educated Working Woman and Beyond 1903-48: A Successful Life; The Final Chapter. Epilogue. Appendix 1: Geneaology of the Collet Family Appendix 2: Chronology of Clara's Life and Historical Events.