Blaze e-catalogue - Catalog - Page 42
In a 30 year career, Ida Leeson rose through the
ranks to become one of the first women to hold
a senior leadership position in an Australian
Leeson commenced working at the Public
Library of NSW in 1907 and two years later
transferred to the Mitchell Library. Instrumental
in cataloguing the Mitchell collection, she sought
‘more rapid promotion’ than regulations allowed.
In 1927 in Britain, Leeson achieved a coup,
securing the missing third volume of Matthew
Flinders’ 1801–1808 log.
“She is the smartest cataloguer
here. She has had a very good
education. She is very obliging,
and is exceedingly well read.
She is a very good worker.
There is no shirking about her.”
NSW State Archives: Public Service Board, NRS 1238,
Reports of interviews with departmental boards,
[8/1215], p. 792
By 1932, Leeson’s seniority placed her
in line to replace retiring Mitchell Librarian,
Hugh Wright. His replacement would eventually
succeed Principal Librarian, Willam Ifould.
The Public Library Trustees recommended
Leeson for Mitchell Librarian, but Ifould and
his political masters disallowed it. The Principal
Librarian, they insisted, must be a man. A new
deputy position to Ifould was created, and
a male colleague appointed. He, not Leeson,
would become future Principal Librarian.
Leeson made many appeals throughout her
career for remuneration equal to her male peers.
Her last appeal in 1939 was overshadowed by the
outbreak of war.
Photographer unknown, 1933, SLNSW, P1/977