School of Humanities



Michael Crouch

Phone: (+61 8) 9322 8060
Fax: (+61 8) 9322 1850

Start date

Feb 2007

Submission date

Jul 2013

Michael Crouch


Educated for the twentieth-century? ‘Opportunity, Oppression and Obduracy’:The Life of Emily Bonnycastle Mayne (AIMÉE) 1872-1958


This pivotal biography is of a woman whose background and life understanding of education, travel and aspirations will provide a model for illuminating the experiences of upper-middle-class English women who were born in the late nineteenth-century. Emily Bonnycastle [Aimée] (née Barnett) Mayne—the daughter from a late-Victorian family in England —was born in 1872. She studied at Bedford College London in 1892-94, completing part of her B.Sc. degree, but left to marry a member of the Indian Civil Service on the death of her father. She produced five children and, after nearly two decades in India, lived briefly in New Zealand, Canada and California, before retiring to Jersey and later to London. She lectured on a wide range of topics derived from her experiences abroad. She died in 1958.

Why my research is important

The impact of tertiary education for women in late nineteenth century England has mainly been studied in relation to those women who completed a degree and entered the workforce. But not all women who gained or had exposure to tertiary education fell into that category. Many, like Aimée, did not complete a degree and did not necessarily regard a degree as having a vocational outcome. The life of such women, and the possible impact of their education on their life choices, has not been comprehensively studied. Hence I anticipate that Aimée’s life-story will make an original contribution to the existing historiography on those women, who may not have pursued a vocation in the workforce, but whose lives bear the imprint of their exposure to tertiary education.


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