KAY, Christina,‡ born Edinburgh 11 June 1878, died Midhope, West Lothian, 23 May 1951. School teacher. Model for Miss Jean Brodie in Muriel Spark's The Vrime of Miss Jean Brodie. Daughter of Mary Ann MacDonald, and Alexander Kay, cabinet maker.
Christina Kay led an apparently uneventful life, but one that would inspire one of the great characters of 20th-century literature: Miss Jean Brodie (Spark 1961). From the age of five, she was a pupil at James Gillespie's School for Girls, one of Edinburgh's merchant company schools, where she would later teach. Between 1897 and 1899, she completed her teacher training at the Church of Scotland college in Edinburgh, where her conduct was described as 'exemplary. An only child and a devout Christian, Christina Kay was born and lived in the same flat, at 4 Grindlay Street, Edinburgh, almost all her life. Her father died when she was 15, and she lived with her mother, caring for her until her death in 1913. She never married. Her pupils believed, probably correctly, that like many other women of her generation she lost her fiance in the First World War.
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Publication information: Book title: The Biographical Dictionary of Scottish Women: From the Earliest Times to 2004. Contributors: Elizabeth Ewan - Editor, Sue Innes - Editor, Siân Reynolds - Editor. Publisher: Edinburgh University Press. Place of publication: Edinburgh. Publication year: 2006. Page number: 188.
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