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Josephine Elder

‘Josephine Elder’ was the pseudonym of Dr Olive Gwendoline Potter, who was for 60 years in general practice in Sutton, Surrey. She was born in Croydon on 5 December 1895, the daughter of Albert William Potter and his wife Ellen Wakefield; she had one younger brother. She attended Croydon High School because her father, an accountant with Lever Bros, insisted on the best available education for his clever daughter and encouraged her to take up medicine instead of the journalism to which she half inclined. She certainly made a very good doctor, but never lost the desire to write which eventually gave her a second career.

She read medicine at Girton College, Cambridge, following this with hospital appointments and eventually setting up in general practice in Sutton; but in 1923 patients were slow to patronise a woman doctor, and Olive turned to ‘Josephine Elder’ to supplement her income. She began prolifically with short stories for annuals, but soon added full-length books. These suited her better, with their scope for developing character over a longer period (sometimes over several fictional years), and are always interesting. She died in 1988. [With thanks to The Encyclopaedia of Girls School Stories Volume One for this information.]

GGBP have published several of her children’s titles (see under All Books Ever Published) and are now delighted to be continuing with the second title in the Farm School series.