Setting the Agenda: Jean Royce and the Shaping of Queen's University

By Roberta Hamilton

© 2002

As Registrar of Queen's University, Jean Royce shaped the university's development, and personified the university for generations of students. Appointed in 1933 by men who sought to exclude women from positions of authority, Jean Royce navigated the precarious gendered environment of institutional life for thirty-five years. As gate-keeper and talent scout, she encouraged all who qualified, revealing herself out of sympathy with those who would preserve Queen's as Protestant men's club or English-Canadian enclave. Attentive to detail and internationalist in vision, she became the most powerful woman ever to work at Queens. Her forced retirement at 64 devastated her, but following her election by alumni to the Board of Trustees she played a key role in expanding educational opportunities for women.

Spanning the first eight decades of the twentieth century, Jean Royce's life provides a lens for looking at working-class family life before the Great Depression, social mobility through education, feminism's continuing presence in the twentieth century, and the constraints and possibilities for single women in work, relationships, cultural life, and international travel. Centrally, her life provides a close look at the development and politics of a major Canadian university.

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Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Gender and History
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.3in x 9.2in
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SKU# SP000622

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2002

    From: $50.25

    Regular Price: $67.00

    ISBN 9780802036711
  • PUBLISHED SEP 2002

    From: $59.25

    Regular Price: $79.00

Quick Overview

The biography of Jean Royce, Registrar of Queen's University for thrity-five years, provides a close look at the development and politics of a major Canadian university.

Setting the Agenda: Jean Royce and the Shaping of Queen's University

By Roberta Hamilton

© 2002

As Registrar of Queen's University, Jean Royce shaped the university's development, and personified the university for generations of students. Appointed in 1933 by men who sought to exclude women from positions of authority, Jean Royce navigated the precarious gendered environment of institutional life for thirty-five years. As gate-keeper and talent scout, she encouraged all who qualified, revealing herself out of sympathy with those who would preserve Queen's as Protestant men's club or English-Canadian enclave. Attentive to detail and internationalist in vision, she became the most powerful woman ever to work at Queens. Her forced retirement at 64 devastated her, but following her election by alumni to the Board of Trustees she played a key role in expanding educational opportunities for women.

Spanning the first eight decades of the twentieth century, Jean Royce's life provides a lens for looking at working-class family life before the Great Depression, social mobility through education, feminism's continuing presence in the twentieth century, and the constraints and possibilities for single women in work, relationships, cultural life, and international travel. Centrally, her life provides a close look at the development and politics of a major Canadian university.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Studies in Gender and History
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 416 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.2in x 1.3in x 9.2in
  • Reviews

    'The story of the 20th century single career woman has yet to be fully told. Roberta Hamilton's study of Jean Royce makes a major contribution towards an understanding of that very important story. An insightful and genuinely innovative study in gender and educational history.'


    Alison Prentice, Department of History, University of Victoria

    'A significant contribution to research in the area of the history of Canadian women and professionalisation; of the history of changing patterns in academic life in Canada; and of the history of the personal and professional experience of women in the period between first wave and second wave feminism.'


    Deborah Gorham, Department of History, Carleton University
  • Author Information

    Roberta Hamilton is Professor of Sociology at Queen's University.