Dora Pym (nee Ivens) – Classicist

Personal Papers of Dora Pym
Pym, Dora Olive (1890-1980) née Ivens, classicist

Dora Pym (nee Ivens) was born at Harborough Parva near Rugby. She was the daughter of a timber merchant and farmer and was educated at home and then the King Edward VI High School, Birmingham before coming to Girton 1910-15 as a Bodichon Scholar to read Classics.

[Note: Dora is half sister to Dr. Mary Hannah Frances Ivens. Mary’s father, William Ivens married Sarah Walker in 1890, after the death of Elizabeth (nee Ashmole) in 1877. See Post: ‘The Extraordinary Mary Hannah Frances Ivens…‘]

She achieved a first in Part I of the Tripos in 1913 and stayed a further two years, first as a fourth-year scholar then as a research student, before going to Westfield College as a lecturer in Classics. She returned to Girton in 1916 as Resident Lecturer in Classics, a post she held for two years until her marriage to Thomas Pym. After her marriage, she taught classics at schools in Bristol from 1929, later lecturing in classics and education at Bristol University. She published on the classics and on teaching method.

Memoirs: ‘Patchwork from the past‘. This consists of an introduction and five parts. Introduction: My Home – detailed description [with plan drawn by one of her grand children] of the family house at Harborough Parva near Rugby.

My Mother – includes research into Sarah Walker’s life before her marriage.

My Father – includes information about William Ivens’ parents and his life before his marriage, also original newspaper cuttings about his marriage to Dora Pym’s mother 1890 and his obituary 1905.

Part 1: Harborough Parva 1890-1901 pp 1-87 (Part I incorporates at the end ‘Dora’s adventure’ pp1-9 a personal recollection of childhood covering the same years as part I and first written in 1948. It has its own page numbering and is continued in parts II and III, at the end of each of these parts). In the pagination of volume I, pages 28 & 29 appear to be missing, this is to take account of the typed up versions of newspaper cuttings. Part I includes accounts of early childhood, lessons at home, illnesses, manners, animals, step-brothers and sisters and the impact of the Boer War on a child of nine.

Part II: Harborough Parva 1901-1906 pp 88-216 (part II incorporates ‘Dora’s adventure’ pp10-18, at the end). Includes the widening social contacts of the teenage years, life in the village and neighbourhood; life in the household of Dora’s father, a prosperous timber merchant, his death, Dora’s start at school, King Edward VI High School for Girls, Birmingham.

Part III: Harborne, Birmingham 1906-1910 pp 217-323 (part III incorporates the final part of ‘Dora’s adventure’ pp19-25 at the end) Owing to a slip in pagination, page 273 is missing. This part includes life in Birmingham, school, exams, scholarship to Girton. .

Part IV: Cambridge 1910-1913 pp 324-473. Detailed description of life at Girton, lectures, supervisions, reading parties, vacations etc.

Part V: Cambridge and War 1913-1918 pp 474-695 [Vol. 1 pages 474-571, Vol. 2 pages 572-695]. This part includes much about the Student Christian Movement, as well as her final year as an undergraduate, her postgraduate year at Girton teaching, her time lecturing at Westfield College, coming back to Girton and finally her time in France working with the YMCA, where she met Tom Pym, a chaplain.

They were engaged and married in 1918, before the end of the war (First World War).
Creator: Pym, Dora.

Please cite as Girton College Archive, Cambridge, Personal Papers of Dora Pym, GCPP Pym


One response to “Dora Pym (nee Ivens) – Classicist

  1. I have written to Girton College hoping to gain access to these papers, which I think could be most revealing on the life and times of early 20th century Warwickshire life.


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