About the Author

Mary O’Connor

Mary O’Connor is Professor Emerita, Department of English and Cultural Studies, at McMaster University. Her research interest in modernist culture (1890–1939) has remained constant since her doctoral work at the University of Toronto, despite the many tangents of her research life—which have included African American women’s novels, women’s life-writing of the seventeenth century, women’s health promotion, and photography. Arguably, the main thread of her research has been about everyday life across various cultural and social expressions. She has co-curated art exhibitions on women’s art at the McMaster Museum of Art (Embodied Matter, 2006) and at the Ontario Science Centre (The Archive and Everyday Life, 2015).


Her research on everyday life and its objects led her to the kitchen still-life photographs of Margaret Watkins at the National Gallery of Canada. Since 1999, O’Connor’s work on Watkins has appeared in chapters in books, in exhibition catalogues, and in her co-authored monograph with Katherine Tweedie, Seduced by Modernity: The Photography of Margaret Watkins (2007). In 2022, she co-created with Tweedie the short film Archive Traces: Margaret Watkins Photographer, which showed at the Art Gallery of Hamilton.

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