I've been liaising with The University of Queensland about Zoila Stables who was an Arts student in the 1920s. The archivist was only able to give me a date of graduation which was 1928; the year that the Sow's Ear was built.
There was nothing else, however she did say to contact the Fryer Library on the Campus as they held publications and manuscripts of some of Australia's leading writers. I knew Zoila had written a book.
"Our Austlit database records that Zolia Stables wrote under the pseudonym of “Eleanor Peters”.
It states: “’Eleanor Peters’ was the pseudonym of Zoila M. Stables, who was born in Argentina of English parents and moved to Australia some time before the publication of ‘Tare Harvest’, her only work.”
The Fryer Library said there are no copies of this book held in Australian libraries.
I knew Zoila held the copyright of Tare Harvest by Eleanor Peters, but did not put two and two together.
Zoila was Eleanor!
|screen print of an excerpt from an American publishers journal about Ms Peters/Zoila|
I know I will be able to track down biographical information and literary reviews from when the book was published in 1936.
The new information also explained why I could not find Australian birth records for the Stables family and why Zoila had a Spanish name.
A quick search on the Queensland State Archives site lead to the Stables immigration records. Zoila entered Australia in 1911 under the name of Mabel Stables. She was 11 years old.
She arrived with her nine-year old sister Florence (her middle name Ethel was used in the immigration records), seven-year old brother Stanley and 39 year old Mother Mary (Florence was used in the records).
Now I have approximate years of birth for the first owners of the Sow's Ear, which is terrific.
The best news is the Fryer Library said they were interested in acquiring a second-hand copy of Tare Harvest, because they aim to have a comprehensive collection of Australian literature and also Zoila was a past UQ student.
A good week for research! And maybe Zoila wasn't such a fruit-loop after all...