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Winifred Llewellyn James (1876–1941)

The death of Winifred James, authoress, journalist and lecturer, occurred in Sydney on Sunday. She was 64 years old. Born at Windsor, near Melbourne, Winifred James was the daughter of the Rev. Thomas James, of Liskeard, Cornwall. In her early twenties she took up journalism, and after she had had several articles published she left for London in 1905. Her first novel, 'Bachelor Betty,' was published by Constable before she had been there a year. After that came a series of fiction works, the most prominent being 'Patricia Baring' (1908), 'Saturday's Children' (1909), 'Letters to My Son' (1910), 'Letters of a Spinster' (1911), and 'Gangways and Corridors' (1936). She wrote many entertaining essays also. For her attempt to have altered the English law which deprived women of their nationality upon their marrying a foreigner, she gained world-wide notoriety. She had married and divorced a Henry de Jan, of Louisiana US.A., and Almirante (Panama), and had to report to a police station every time she moved more than five miles from her residence, since, under the English law, divorce did not restore her to British citizenship. As a test case, Miss James refused to report her movements, thereby risking a fine or gaol. The Home Office refused to make a martyr of her, and took no action. She regained her nationality in 1935, after having fought the authorities for eight years previously. When Miss James returned to Australia in January of last year she was working on her autobiography.

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Citation details

'James, Winifred Llewellyn (1876–1941)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 27 February 2024.

© Copyright Obituaries Australia, 2010-2024

Life Summary [details]

Alternative Names
  • De Jan, Winifred Llewellyn

20 March, 1876
Prahran, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


27 April, 1941 (aged 65)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Cause of Death


Religious Influence

Includes the religion in which subjects were raised, have chosen themselves, attendance at religious schools and/or religious funeral rites; Atheism and Agnosticism have been included.