Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Update: The Edwardians (Part 2 of 4)

A quick preliminary: 

In addition to the new batch of Edwardians below, I was also able to make significant updates on the main list to the bios of two writers I recently learned more about. 

One query to the D. E. Stevenson Yahoo discussion group promptly produced a plethora of new information about Molly Clavering, including the hitherto unimagined existence of four novels Clavering wrote under a pseudonym in the 1930s. Special thanks to Geraldine, Kristi, and Jeanne.  I'm hoping to do a full post on Clavering soon, who seems like an interesting and seriously neglected writer.

I also stumbled across a discussion group dedicated to Fay Inchfawn, also on Yahoo, which features photos, book covers, and lovely reminiscences from the group moderator, Marion, who knew Inchfawn herself as well as her daughter and secretary.  This information helped me flesh out my short bio of Inchfawn on the main list and also greatly enhanced an upcoming post on one of Inchfawn's books, so thank you to Marion for the information and for welcoming me warmly to her discussion list!

Now, on to the Edwardians…

There are 40 more writers in my second batch of Edwardians, mostly culled, as I mentioned last time, from The Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction (or OCEF when I refer to it below), all of which have now been added to the main list.  And either my interest in this period is increasing or else there were simply a lot of interesting women whose names happened to fall between G and K!  Sadly, however, I found fewer good pictures this time.

Here are the writers from this batch who stood out for me:

OLIVE GARNETT, sister of publisher Edward Garnett and sister-in-law of the preeminent translator of Russian literature, Constance Garnett.  Her passionate socialist beliefs are apparently reflected in her fiction, and her love affair with anarchist S. M. Stepniak—who, interestingly, appears in fictional form as "Nekrovitch" in Isabel Meredith's fascinating A Girl Among the Anarchists (1903)—is part of the focus of two volumes of her 1890s diaries, published as Tea and Anarchy! (1989) and Olive and Stepniak (1993).

MAUDE GOLDRING, whose novels of women facing the tedium and limitations of provincial life—including Dean's Hall (1908), The Tenants of Pixy Farm (1909), The Downsman: A Story of Sussex (1911), and The Wonder Year (1914)—may be of interest.

CLOTILDE GRAVES, whose early comedic novel Maids in a Market Garden (1894), about a group of women setting up a market garden, sounds potentially irresistible.

Clotilde Graves, author of the humorous
Maids in a Market Garden (1894)

BEATRICE GRIMSHAW, a trailblazer for women travelers and travel writers, specializing in the South Seas; her life may be as interesting as her later novels, which make use of her personal experiences in exotic locales.

Beatrice Grimshaw, whose life of travel
was surely as interesting as her novels

MABEL BARNES-GRUNDY (listed in OCEF under "G," but her name in published works is hyphenated, so I'm adding her to the main list under "B") definitely sounds like she could be of interest for her perky, humorous romances featuring energetic heroines and witty dialogue.  It's odd I've never heard of her, and perhaps that’s a bad sign, but the description of her in Twentieth-Century Romance and Historical Writers makes her sound like a long-lost sister to D. E. Stevenson or Margery Sharp: her novels "move along at a brisk pace with plenty of action and ingenious plots. Their atmosphere is gently romantic rather than loaded with emotion. Their heroines are charming, enterprising, high-spirited, independent-minded, witty, modern enough to smoke and drink cocktails (in the 1920s and 1930s), but ultimately traditionalist in that they marry solid, reliable, nice men whom they will allow to take care of them."  According to IMDB, she is credited with writing a silent film, Candytuft, I Mean Veronica (1921), but it's unclear whether she actually wrote the screenplay or only the novel (1914) on which the movie was based.  She published two novels during World War II and one immediately after, with such intriguing titles as Paying Pests (1941) and The Two Miss Speckles (1946).  Sadly, I was unable to find a single photo of her online.

MARY SPOTSWOOD ASH, who wrote as "M. Hamilton" and whose many novels OCEF calls "underrated."  The authors particularly single out Cut Laurels (1905), in which a woman, left alone for 18 years while her husband was a prisoner in Egypt, has raised their daughter singlehandedly and supported herself as a dressmaker, but must now readapt to his presence and cope with the details of his other family in Egypt.  It could easily slip into melodrama, but if it doesn't it could be quite interesting.

MARGARET HARKNESS, whose novels and journalism about the slums of London were important and vivid and were admired by Friedrich Engels.  You can read more about Harkness in an article by Flore Janssen here.

Apparently one of the only surviving
images of Margaret Harkness

MARIE HARRISON, a journalist whose one novel, The Woman Alone (1914), is about a single woman who decides to have a child on her own.  OCEF says the "ethical and social difficulties of single parenthood and of marriages where the couple both work are intelligently treated."  The subject matter would still have been bold even a few decades later.

KATE HORN, another writer whose OCEF description appeals to me.  Edward and I and Mrs Honeybun (1910), which OCEF describes as “characteristic,” is the story of “an aristocratic young couple who find themselves penniless and retire to a Suffolk village to live on £200 a year: Mrs Honeybun, who ekes out both the novel's plot and its title, is a thirsty charwoman.”  And honestly, who doesn't love a thirsty charwoman?!

Just 80 more Edwardians to go!  And I already have a healthy list of later writers to add when those are finished. 

Clearly, the list, much like the beat, goes on…

Current count: 531 writers

MABEL BARNES-GRUNDY (dates unknown)

Author of two dozen humorous romances published from the 1900s to 1940s and characterized by, in OCEF's words, their "extraordinary cheerfulness"; titles include An Undressed Heroine (1916), Sally in a Service Flat (1934), and The Two Miss Speckles (1946).

MRS. R. S. GARNETT (1869-1946)
(pseudonym of Martha Garnett, née Roscoe)

More research needed; biographer and novelist, author of the novels The Infamous John Friend (1909), a spy story set during the Napoleonic period, and Amor Vincit: A Romance of the Staffordshire Moorlands (1912), as well as the biography Samuel Butler and His Family Relations (1926).

OLIVE GARNETT (1871-1958)

Sister of publisher Edward Garnett and sister-in-law of translator Constance Garnett; author of Petersburg Tales (1900) and In Russia's Night (1918); two volumes of her 1890s diaries have been published as Tea and Anarchy! (1989) and Olive and Stepniak (1993).

D[OROTHEA] GERARD (1855-1915)
(aka E. D. Gerard)

Sister of novelist Emily Gerard (1849–1905), with whom she collaborated on several early novels, Dorothy also wrote numerous romantic novels of her own, including Holy Matrimony (1902), The Inevitable Marriage (1911), Exotic Martha (1912), and The Waters of Lethe (1914).

ELEANOR HUGHES GIBB (dates unknown)

Author of several books about botany as well as four novels—The Soul of a Villain (1905), Through the Rain (1906), His Sister (1908), and Gilbert Ray (1914); the last is about labour disputes among iron-workers in northern England.

L[ETTICE]. S[USAN]. GIBSON (1859-????)

More research needed; author of four novels, The Freemasons (1905), Burnt Spices (1906), Ships of Desire (1908), and The Oakum Pickers (1912); according to OCEF, Burnt Spices deals with a vengeful ghost.

ROSA GILBERT (1841-1921)
(née Mulholland, aka Ruth Murray)

Prolific novelist whose work usually centers on rural Catholic Irish life; Cynthia's Bonnet Shop (1900), about two sisters who open a shop in London seems of interest; other titles include The Tragedy of Chris (1903) and Fair Noreen (1912).

MAUDE GOLDRING (dates unknown)

Poet, novelist, and biographer of Charlotte Brontë; her four novels seem intriguing, and include Dean's Hall (1908), The Tenants of Pixy Farm (1909), The Downsman: A Story of Sussex (1911), and The Wonder Year (1914), about women suffering the constraints of provincial life.


Prolific author of sensationalistic fiction, some dealing with her interest in spiritualism, some attacking religions she disliked; titles include When the Birds Begin to Sing (1897), Christian Murderers (1908), Tumbling Out of Windows (1929), and A Spider Never Falls (1944).

SADI GRANT (dates unknown)

More research needed; author of several light novels, including A New Woman Subdued (1898), Folly at Cannes (1902), The Second Evil (1906), Lobelia of China (1907), and Plain William (1916).

(aka Richard Dehan or Clo Graves)

Actress, poet, playwright and novelist; her early comedy Maids in a Market Garden (1894), about a group of women setting up a market garden, sounds intriguing; later work includes The Dop Doctor (1910), A Gilded Vanity (1916), and The Just Steward (1922).

MAXWELL GRAY (1847-1923)
(pseudonym of Mary Gleed Tuttiett)

Playwright and novelist whose most successful novel was The Silence of Dean Maitland (1886), which she also turned into a play; she continued writing into the 1910s, with titles including Unconfessed (1911), Something Afar (1913), and The Diamond Pendant (1918).

ROWLAND GRAY (1863-1959)
(pseudonym of Lilian Kate Rowland-Brown)

Journalist and author of romantic novels; her works include The Unexpected (1902), Green Cliffs (1905), Surrender (1909), and La Belle Alliance (1915), after which she seems to have stopped publishing.

(pseudonym of Hilda Caroline Gregg)

Teacher and novelist whose work was often set in India (though it seems unclear when she lived there); titles include The Heir (1906), The Power of the Keys (1907), The Kingdom of Waste Lands (1917), and Berringer of Bandeir (1919).


Travel writer and novelist; one of the earliest women to travel extensively in the South Seas, she wrote of her experiences in works like From Fiji to the Cannibal Islands (1907); she also wrote novels set in the South Seas, such as My South Sea Sweetheart (1921) and Wreck of the Redwing (1927).

A[DA]. M[ATILDA]. M[ARY]. HALES (1878-1957)

More research needed; children's author and novelist; apparently published three novels, including Leslie (1913) and The Puritan's Progress (1920).


Poet, children's writer, and novelist whose works were often set in Ireland; novels include The Luck of the Kavanaghs (1912), A Regular Little Pickle (1919), and Rupert's Wife (1922); she also wrote biographical sketches of women writers in Women Writers: Their Works and Ways (1892-93).

M. HAMILTON (1869-1949)
(pseudonym of Mary Spotswood Ash, later Luck)

Author of 18 novels that OCEF calls "underrated," some set in Ireland, some in India; Cut Laurels (1905), about a woman adapting to the return of her husband after 18 years absence, seems of interest; others include The Locust's Years (1919) and Anne Against the World (1922).

L. ALLEN HARKER (1863-1933)
(pseudonym of Lizzie Watson)

Author of sentimental domestic dramas, including Miss Esperance and Mr Wycherly (1908), Allegra (1919), The Broken Bow (1924), Hilda Ware (1926), and Black Jack House (1929).

(aka John Law)

Journalist and novelist best known for In Darkest London (1890), focused on the Salvation Army and how London's temptations can lead youth astray; novels include Out of Work (1888), set around the events of "bloody Sunday," and The Horoscope (1915), set in Sri Lanka.

MARIE HARRISON (dates unknown)

Primarily known as a journalist, Harrison published one novel, The Woman Alone (1914), about a single woman who decides to have a child; OCEF says the "ethical and social difficulties of single parenthood and of marriages where the couple both work are intelligently treated."

FRANCES HARROD (1866-1956)
(née Forbes-Robertson)

Sister of actor Johnston Forbes-Robertson (and perhaps related to Diana Forbes Robertson listed below?), Harrod wrote novels including The Hidden Model (1901) and The Horrible Man (1913), as well as later historical fiction.


Teacher (headmistress for a time), travel writer, specialist on Spanish art, sex educator, and novelist (whew!); her sex education works for women date from the 1910s and 1920s, but she wrote two earlier novels, including The Weaver's Shuttle (1905), about a woman's sexual development.

VALENTINA HAWTREY (dates unknown)

Author of several historical novels in the 1900s and 1910s about the trials and tribulations of womanhood; titles include Perronelle (1904), In the Shade (1909), Heritage (1912), and In a Desert Land (1915).

MARIE HAY (1873-1938)

Half-sister of Duff Cooper, author of fictionalized biographies including A German Pompadour (1906), The Winter Queen (1910), and Mas'aniello: A Neapolitan Tragedy (1913); her final novel, The Evil Vineyard (1923), deals with a haunted house and was reportedly of interest to Carl Jung.

ETHEL F[ORSTER]. HEDDLE (dates unknown)

More research needed; author of books for girls and novels for adults, including Three Girls in a Flat (1896), A Mystery of St. Rule's (1902), Clarinda's Quest (1910), and The House of Shadows (1920).


Children's author and novelist whose works sound a bit melodramatic; OCEF notes that The Ship That Came Home in the Dark (1912) "involves a woman substituting herself for a blind man's wife"; others include The Summit (1909) and We Know Each Other's Faces (1947).


Sister of Agnes, a like her published for children and adults; her works include The Stigma (1905), Mortal Men (1907), Young Life (1911), and Crofton's Daughter (1919).


Author of several romantic novels, including A Woman's Soul (1900), The Queen Regent (1903), The Fifth Wheel (1916), and The Tenth Step (1923), as well as a book of essays called Through a Woman's Eyes (1917).

(pseudonym of Eliza Ann Holdsworth, aka Max Beresford)

Born in Jamaica to British parents and raised in Britain, Holdsworth's fiction includes Joanna Traill, Spinster (1894), Spindles and Oars (1896), a series of sketches set in a Scottish fishing village, and A Garden of Spinsters (1904), which OCEF compares to the work of Sarah Orne Jewett.

KATE HORN (1860-1924?)

Author of an apparent multitude of light romances; Edward and I and Mrs Honeybun (1910), about an impoverished aristocratic couple and an eccentric charwoman, seems intriguing; others include The Flute of Arcady (1914), Love’s Law (1916), and The Evolution of Nancy (1923).

GLADYS M[AUDE]. HUDDART (dates unknown)

Daughter of Beatrice Heron-Maxwell; according to OCEF she published fiction in the 1920s, but I can find no reference to her in the British Library catalogue or on Google Books.  For now, she remains a mystery…

GENEVIEVE IRONS (dates unknown)

Author of several novels with Catholic themes, including A Maiden up to Date (1908), The Damsel Who Dared (1909), The Mystery of the Priest's Parlour (1911), and In the Service of the King (1912).

VIOLET JACOB (1863-1946)

Poet and novelist whose tales of rural Wales and Scotland were highly praised in her day; these include The Sheepstealers (1902), The Interloper (1904), and Flemington (1911);  Jacob stopped writing following her son’s death in World War I.

AGNES E[LIZA]. JACOMB (1866-1949)

More research needed; author of several novels, including The Faith of His Fathers (1909), Johnny Lewison (1909), The Lonely Road (1911), Esther (1912) and The Fruits of the Morrow (1914).

(aka John Keith Prothero)

Journalist, founder of Cecil Houses for homeless women, and novelist; G. K. Chesterton’s sister-in-law; her one novel is Motley & Tinsel: A Story of the Stage (1911), but she is better known for journalism about slum life, such as In Darkest London (1926) and Women of the Underworld (1931).


Sister of Arabella; novelist known for sensationalistic feminist novels, such as Thus Saith Mrs Grundy (1911), about a prostitute, A Water-Fly's Wooing (1914), against interracial marriage; in 1915, after losing a slander case, she attempted suicide by taking poison while still in the courtroom.


Doctor, early feminist (albeit with powerfully essentialist views), and novelist; titles include Dr. Janet of Harley Street (1893), about a lesbian doctor, A Semi-Detached Marriage (1898), My Beautiful Neighbour (1911), and This Thing We Have Prayed For (1915).


Author of several romantic novels for girls, including historical fiction; titles include Love Is Life (1910), The King's Kiss (1912), Daffodil's Love Affairs (1913), and Heart of the Scarlet Fire (1916).

EDITH C. KENYON (????-1925)

Prolific novelist, children's author, and writer on domestic themes, Kenyon's titles include A Nurse's Love Story (1907), The Wooing of Mifanwy (1912), The Ashes of Honour (1914), Molly's Charm (1914), and Lady Satton's Granddaughter (1921).


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  2. Kate Horn can be very good. Her real name was C.E.C. Weigall (1866-1951). She published some novels under that name (first name Constance) but mostly she published as Kate Horn. Mysteriously, her last novel was published in 1927, though she lived to 1951 (died in Portsmouth, England). Her writing has a liveliness and life-affirming outlook which I enjoy. One of the very hardest authors in terms of finding her books! "Edward and I" often available in old editions. "Frivole" can be found--it is a sort of sequel. There is a haunting beauty to "Edward and I" which is hard to define. She had three children; one son killed in WWI.

    1. This is wonderful too. It seems like you've done research on Horn? OCEF apparently got some of her information wrong, as they speculated she died about 1924. They did mention that her married name was Weigall. I'll be sure and update her information when I do the next revision of the full list. Thanks so much! And I'm definitely intrigued by Edward and I now, it's been bumped up my "to read" list.

  3. I've become very interested in Mabel Barnes-Grundy, so thought I'd share what I've come across. Alas, I haven't succeeded in finding a photo of her either; hopefully one will surface someday : ) An image of her second husband can be viewed at: http://www.takaoclub.com/britishconsuls/alfred_ernest_wileman.htm

    "...Alfred Ernest Wileman married Mabel Sarah Grundy, the widowed daughter of John Gaskell and Sarah Goddard, in 1918 at St Martin’s, London. Mabel Sarah Barnes Grundy was a prolific author of historically-based romantic fiction, publishing over 25 titles between 1902 and 1946.

    Alfred Ernest Wileman died on 15 February 1929 within a few days of his 69th birthday while wintering on the Riviera at the Riviera Palace Hotel, Menton, France. After his death his widow Mabel Sarah Wileman donated his collection of butterflies and moths to the Natural History department of the British Museum, now the Natural History Museum. Mabel Sarah Wileman died aged 83 at 61 Russian Drive, Stoneycroft, Liverpool, on 16 January 1952."

    Christening (1869)

    First Marriage (1896) to Frank Barnes Grundy

    Residence (1901)

    Second Marriage (1918) to Alfred E. Wileman

  4. Postscript to the above. A little extra from “The London Gazette” as to her final movements.

    Name of Deceased: WILEMAN, Mabel Sarah

    Address, description and date of death of Deceased: Various hotels but latterly at Bournemouth, Widow. 16th January, 1952.

    Solicitor information is provided as well. Page image viewable at https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/39477/page/1165

    1. Wow, thanks so much for all of this! I've added it to my database. Have you been reading Barnes-Grundy's work as well? I have one of her novels on my Kindle, but haven't gotten around to it yet. Her maiden name makes me wonder if she could be related to Elizabeth Gaskell, but I suppose that's asking too much!

    2. I initially had my heart set on "The Two Miss Speckles" (1946), as it has to do with the taking in of paying guests. (I've posted a synopsis found online in a separate comment.)

      But, as is often the case, the titles I'm most eager to read aren't available online, or are too pricey. But I've found more than enough to make me happy in "Hilary on Her Own" (1908). Miss Hilary Forrest, age 22, grown weary of a comfortable life at home, announces, "I want to work, to live, to make a career, to see life." I would have preferred an older heroine, a spinster ideally, but through Hilary, who will find employment as a secretary and then seek housing, I've made the acquaintance of the delightful Sparrow sisters, Miss Susie and Miss Bobbie...

      "The door opened gently, and a very diminutive and quite the sweetest-looking little lady I had ever met entered the room shyly, and yet composedly." This is Miss Susie, with a figure "so slight that one could imagine her being able to crawl through one of the old-fashioned croquet-hoops with ease." (Here I envisioned tiny actress Esma Cannon : )

      I devoured Chapters 12 and 13—"In Quest of a Boarding-House" and "Of the Misses Sparrow's High-Class Boarding House". Hilary's fellow boarders are, at the start, an elderly woman and six gentlemen.

      Sweet and sunny so far, with humorous touches too—"Mr. Inglis had been known to regard the parlour-maid with both eyes at one and the same time (perhaps in a moment of mental abstraction)"—the very thing I enjoy as a break from middlebrow with a little more substance, and vintage crime fiction.

      And, yes, the possibility of a connection to Elizabeth Gaskell, however remote, is most intriguing. I was reminded of Mrs. Gaskell recently with regards to her Brontë connection. A possible photographic image of the three sisters (thought to be an 1850s copy of an 1840s original) is the subject of a fascinating study. It has yet to be authenticated, or dismissed.

    3. CAUTION: Contains Plot Spoilers.

      "THE Two Miss Speckles. By Mabel Barnes-Grundy. (Published by Hutchinson & Co. 9s. 6d.) This is a tale of two sisters living in Bath under war conditions, but the atmosphere seems to be more that of Cranford or Quality, and the characters of the sisters resemble somewhat those in these two classics. In this case the younger, Unity, is completely dominated by her severe elder sister, and her life is nearly wrecked because Euphemia did not consider a suitor named William Onions a fit mate for a Speckles. The story tells how the sisters, inspired by a quotation from George Bernard Shaw which they do not understand, decide that they are not pulling their weight in the war effort, and that they might take into their comfortable home some of the unfortunates driven from their own homes and miserable in lodgings or hotels. The contrasting characters of these paying guests are fitted into a Bath that seems to be still in the last century. There are some amusing scenes, as of Miss Unity lying in bed revelling in the tales of Edgar Allan Poe while she hugs a "very hot bottle" and ends her orgy with a piece of chocolate. How many have tried that way of "escape" in these war years? The book ends happily with the romantic marriage with her lover, and her niece with the wounded R.A.F. officer." — "The National and English Review"; Vol. 127; 1946

    4. Thanks for all of this wonderful information! The Two Miss Speckles surely belongs on my Hopeless Wish List when I revise it (as I've been meaning to do for months now), and Hilary on Her Own is sounding right up my alley too--I've just downloaded it from Google Books, though heaven knows when I'll have time to actually dive in. Thanks for the lovely teasers! (And by the way your comments are teasers in a sense too, since you're staying anonymous!) Love the Bronte photo too--how will anyone ever be able to determine if it could be real, I wonder?

  5. Mabel Barnes Grundy is cousin-by-marriage to my grandmother. We believe she was born in 1869 but sometimes she gave her year of birth as 1880! Her first husband is a relative of mine: a scientist called Frank Barnes Grundy (1871-1910) and they lived at 1 Helena Terrace overlooking the River Thames at Richmond. They had no children. I vaguely knew she later married a diplomat. Sadly we have no photos of her!
    Andrew Stewart MacKay

    1. That's so interesting, Andrew, thanks for sharing it. I never get tired of hearing from people with connections to these authors--I need to trace my English roots a bit more and see if I can muster any connections myself! By the way, I can't tell you how many times I've found information about an author's appropriate birth year (probably self-reported, such as in census records), and then the actual birth certificate has been found a number of years earlier--shaving a few years off of one's age has always been popular!

  6. To update: Mabel Barnes Grundy's mother was born Sarah Goddard of Park Hall in Staffordshire, and Mabel's father John Gaskell was one of the Gaskells of Clifton Hall in Lancashire (so perhaps a relation of Mrs Gaskell?). As such was a cousin of Lord Clive of India and a descendant of Thomas Goddard, Director of The Bank of England. Mabel and her first husband - Lecturer in Chemistry at The Royal Navy College, Greenwich - Frank Barnes lived at The Red House in Richmond-upon-Thames.


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