Women, editing and geographical publishing

‘Women, editing and publishing: Ivy Davison and the Geographical Magazine in its first thirty yearsis the title of the 2015 E.G.R. Taylor Lecture by Felix Driver at the Royal Geographical Society on Thursday 8 October (6:30pm).

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Eva Taylor was the first woman appointed as Professor of Geography in the UK in 1930, and remained Britain’s only female Professor of Geography until 1962. She was to be the single most prolific academic contributor to the Geographical Magazine in the three decades following the Magazine’s foundation in 1935 by Michael Huxley with the support of the literary publisher Chatto & Windus. That fact raises intriguing questions about the relationship between academic geography and popular publishing in the middle decades of the twentieth century.

This lecture explores the life and career of another woman associated with the Geographical Magazine – Ivy Davison, who served as its editor for six years during the Second World War, but whose name does not figure in any history of publishing or geography. A significant contributor to Britain’s leading literary magazines in the interwar period, as an editor rather than author, her name is also absent from the scholarly literature on women’s writing and journalism, even though she worked with many well-known authors including Virginia Woolf who employed her briefly in the early 1930s. The lecture suggests that Ivy Davison’s career as journalist, reviewer and editor sheds light on wider issues about women’s role in editorial work and popular geographical publishing during the twentieth century.

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