Archive and Special Collections

Following a Friend

There are so many roads to explore in the archive, snickets, ginnels, chares or wynds; some of these broaden into more substantial avenues of research, other passages are interesting cul-de-sacs.

Recently a colleague sent me a book to assess for our special collections. It was a 1905 edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes. The volume had seen better days but had a nice frontispiece illustration by Walter Crane. The usual library stamps and markings devalued it for purist collectors. However, of interest to our University collections, it had a Vernon Road stamp from the library of the Yorkshire Training College of Housecraft, the famed ‘Pud School’. The other interesting marking was the signature of E. A. Waterfall, Salford, 1906, written in small but neat handwriting on the front endpaper.

I wondered who this Waterfall could be and what their connection to Leeds was. Following that small bit of information, I established that the former owner of the book was Edith Anna Waterfall who had been a lecturer at Vernon Road during the 1930s. She lived at North Grange Road in 1939 with her lifelong friend, Edith Newcomb, herself a lecturer at the training college. Both retired in 1941 and moved together to rural Dorset.

Waterfall was a highly educated woman, attending Bristol University, Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford and Columbia University in New York where she gained a PhD. She also wrote at least three books the most well-known being The Day Continuation School in England; its Function and Future published in 1923. She, like her parents, was a Quaker and in her retirement supported the newly formed Oxford Committee for Famine Relief (Oxfam).

Edith Anna Waterfall (1880-1959)