This appreciation of Olive Banks (1923-2006) draws upon her memoir published in Women's History Review, Vol. 8, No. 3, 1999, pp. 401-410, and upon the author's recollections of and correspondence with her. Born into a solidly working-class family, Olive Banks overcame the disadvantages of her social class background and gender to become an internationally recognised Professor of Sociology, well known for her contribution to the developing field of the sociology of education and especially for her pioneering work on the history of feminism. Her contribution to women's history was important at a time when the discipline was developing as an academic field of study in higher education in the 1980s in the USA and Britain.