'Too high an ideal for the work required'? Minnie James and the intellectual life of the librarian

Sakr, Mona ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3057-2758 (2011) 'Too high an ideal for the work required'? Minnie James and the intellectual life of the librarian. Library & Information History, 27 (3) . pp. 179-193. ISSN 1758-3489 [Article] (doi:10.1179/175834911X13046881149240)


The relationship between the librarian and the intellectual is a complex one; it depends on time and place, and is mediated by the social status of both parties. Using the life and writings of Minnie Stewart Rhodes James (1865–1903), one of the first women to enter British librarianship, this article explores the extent to which the feminization of librarianship at the turn of the twentieth century was responsible for the de-intellectualization of the profession. It also offers a means of exploring the relationship between images of the woman, the intellectual, and the librarian, a relationship that was at the centre of both international debates and individuals' lives. In this article, James's earlier writings on women librarians and their intellectual contribution (or lack thereof) will be compared with the intellectual, social, and economic equality she later espoused. These ideals were influenced by her experiences of travel, her decision to settle in the USA, and the friendships she built with librarians around the world; they demonstrate the importance of national context and international influences when considering the role of gender in the construction of archetypes and images in librarianship.

Item Type: Article
Research Areas: A. > Centre for Education Research and Scholarship (CERS)
A. > School of Health and Education > Education
Item ID: 14008
Useful Links:
Depositing User: Mona Sakr
Date Deposited: 23 Jan 2015 11:33
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2016 14:32
URI: https://eprints.mdx.ac.uk/id/eprint/14008

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