Queer Places:
Deansgrange Cemetery Blackrock, County Dublin, Ireland

Oonah Keogh.jpgOonah Keogh (2 May 1903 – 18 July 1989) was the first woman Stock Exchange Member (Dublin) in 1925.

She was an Irish woman who became the first woman to join the Dublin Stock Exchange in 1925. She may also have been the first woman stockbroker anywhere in the world accredited on a national exchange.

Una Mary Irene Keogh was born in Dublin in 1903 to Joseph Chapman Keogh of Wicklow and Annie Kathleen Doyne of Mullingar, a middle daughter of eight children.[1] Her father was known as the youngest bank manager in Irish history in the 1880s when he took on the job at age 24. Keogh Got her education in the Catholic girl's school at St. Mary's Priory, Warwickshire and Alexandra College Dublin as well as spending time studying in the Metropolitan School of Art. From 1922 Keogh spent two years of travel around Africa and Europe with a governess. After she returned to London to study she got a job offer from her father to work with Joseph Keogh and Company Stockbroking.[2][3][4][5][6]

A small number of women around the world had begun to work as stockbrokers in various capacities by the late 19th century. For example, sisters Victoria Woodhull and Tennessee Claflin were the first women to open a brokerage firm on Wall Street, in 1870,[7][8] while Amy Bell was the first British woman to found her own firm in London, in 1886.[9] However, the major national exchanges of Europe and North America barred women from becoming members, and so these women tended to work outside of the system – by specialising in serving female clients who were ignored by mainstream firms, for example, and by relying on accredited intermediaries to trade on exchanges on their behalf. This systemic discrimination against women in the financial sector means that determining the true "first" woman stockbroker, either in the world or just a specific country, is difficult. Many women stockbrokers were considered the "first" of their kind by media and peers of the time, if they appear in the record at all. There is evidence that by 1923 the stock exchanges of New York City, Berlin, and Amsterdam had accepted at least one woman each as members at some point; meanwhile, in the UK, Doris Mortimer in Exeter became the first member of the Association of Provincial Stock and Share Brokers, which governed stockbroking in the regional exchanges outside of London, in 1923.[10] Nevertheless, the Dublin Stock Exchange had never accepted a woman as a member before by the time Keogh returned to Ireland to work for her father's firm. The new Irish constitution guaranteed equality, and, with her education and wealth, Keogh was fully qualified for the role. It took three weeks to be discussed and voted on, and on 4 May 1925 she joined the stock exchange. She worked there for 14 years, and it wasn't until well after World War II that either of the New York or London exchanges would begin to admit women as a matter of course.[2][3] Keogh experienced typical difficulties of being the only woman in a male-dominated industry. In an interview in 1971, she said: One of the disadvantages in those days was that women did not socialise with men in lounges of pubs. When the men retired to Jury’s to relax after transacting business I could not accompany them. And even when I went to the races with my father it was the same. He would go to the bar for a drink, I would have to slip off for afternoon tea. Disagreements with her father encouraged her to take some time off and visit her sisters Eta and Genevieve in Hampshire in England. It was there she met her husband.[4][6]

Keogh married Russian émigré Bayan Giltsof. When she married Keogh resigned from her father's company but not from the Stock Exchange. She gave them notice of her new name and status. However, initially, she moved to Taunton, Somerset, England with her husband. There they began a building business and developed Tudor houses. She had a daughter Tatiana born 1935 and two sons Rurik, in 1937 and Nicholi 1939. Her fourth child Bayan was born in 1945. After her father's business went bankrupt, there was a court case involving one of his creditors. Keogh had lodged shares with a bank which was now claiming that they were owed against the company debts. Her father had not removed her name from the company documents and Keogh was found to owe the money, and thus also the court costs.[4][6] The family sold up the British home and moved back to Ireland. They bought land in Wicklow and created a set of houses known as The Russian Village.[11][12] Irish President Cearbhall Ó Dálaigh retired there in 1976. In 1952 the family moved again to Ontario but they returned to England in 1953. Shortly after this, the couple separated. Giltsof returned to Wicklow until his death in 1977. Keogh moved with her daughter's family to Madrid. There she taught English in an international primary school. 1980 saw her return to Dublin with her daughter after her daughter's husband died. Both women died within eight days of each other in 1989, Keogh preceded by her daughter.[4][6] They are buried in the family grave in Deansgrange Cemetery.[13]


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