Eleanor Jourdain was born in Derwent Woodlands, Derbyshire, the eldest of ten children of the Reverend Francis Jourdain. She matriculated at Lady Margaret Hall in 1883 and was one of the first women who examined in the modern history school. After several teaching positions, she met Annie Moberley in Paris who suggested she took up the position of Vice-Principal of St Hugh's, which she did in 1903. In 1905 she became tutor in French, and in 1915, she succeeded Miss Moberley as Principal. She oversaw the College's move from Norham Gardens to the main building at the end of the First World War and presided over a substantial growth in student numbers. Sadly her tenure as Principal came to an end in a chapter of College history known as 'The Row'. A division arose between Principal and College tutors over their constitutional position, a position that was made more sensitive by the personal conflict between Jourdain and Ceclia Ady who championed the tutors' cause. Although College Council initially supported the Principal, the matter was referred to the visitor, Lord Curzon, and the Council asked Jourdain for her resignation. She suffered a heart attack on 6th April 1924 and her sudden death was a major factor in perpetuating the divisions within College during this unhappy period.
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St Hugh's College, University of Oxford
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