Few today have ever heard of Dora Russell (1912-1986), let alone read any of her work. At best, some might recognize the name of the wife of Ted Russell, the creator of Uncle Mose and the fictitious outport of Pigeon Inlet. But Dora was also a writer, as prolific (maybe even more so) as her husband. She was certainly much more than just the woman behind the man.
Selected Writings of Dora Russell offers a cross-section of her work, beginning with her years as Woman’s Editor with the Evening Telegram (1945-48). Before long, she found herself in the midst of discussions emanating from the National Convention and the two referenda that led to Confederation. Two of her regular columns focused on political and social events from a uniquely female perspective, sprinkled with touches of humor and satire. She also wrote profiles of 240 prominent Newfoundland women, a superb contribution to the social history of Newfoundland in the 1940s. For her time Dora was quite remarkable. With four small children at home, she successfully carved out a niche for herself in Newfoundland journalism, setting a fine example for those who would follow.
About the Author
Daughter of Ted and Dora Russell, Dr Elizabeth Miller spent all of her working life in the field of education. From 1958-68, she served as a high school teacher and principal in Joe Batt’s Arm on Fogo Island. She left Joe Batt’s Arm with her husband George Miller in 1968. After two years spent as Director of Communications with the Newfoundland Teachers’ Association, in 1970 she joined the faculty (Department of English) of Memorial University. At MUN, Elizabeth taught courses at both undergraduate and graduate levels for the next thirty-two years. She received three significant awards: the Dean of Graduate Studies Award for Thesis Excellence (1988); the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching (1992); and the designation “Emeritus” (2004).
Elizabeth found her scholarly niche first of all in the field of Newfoundland Literature. She published two biographies (of Norman Duncan and Ted Russell) and edited several anthologies of short stories and poetry. In the early 1990s her research interests took a new direction: the novel Dracula (1897), its author (Bram Stoker) and its influence. Elizabeth is recognized internationally as one of the leading scholars. Even though she retired in 2002, she continues to make productive contributions through her publications, participates in radio/television documentaries and lectures at international venues.
Her research shows no signs of abating. Indeed, Elizabeth has re-embraced Newfoundland Studies with the publication of a collection of her mother’s writing.
Elizabeth currently lives in Toronto. Her main non-academic interests include travel and baseball.