Friday, April 24, 2020

"NEW" AUTHORS: children's writers (1 of 2)

It's high time I got back round to highlighting some of the authors added to my main list in my most recent update. In this post and the next, I'll focus on 24 "new" authors who published at least some children's fiction.

Almost always when I get to note that a previously unidentified author is now identified, it's because brilliant researcher John Herrington has been able to connect the dots. So it was a satisfying small victory when a while back I stumbled across the real identity of children's author ROSAMOND BERTRAM, author of six girls' career novels, most focused on journalism. Those titles include Ann Thorne, Reporter (1939), Mary Truelove, Detective (1940), Ann Thorne Comes to America (1941), Philippa Drives On (1947), Scoop for Ann Thorne (1949), and Front Page Ann Thorne (1951).

At the time, I was researching journalist and romance writer ELISABETH MARGETSON, who published nearly three dozen romances for Ward Lock, including such titles as Poor Pagan (1936), Gay Career (1939), Serenade to a Stranger (1940), Six in Sunshine (1942), Quartette in a Flat (1947), Last Night's Kisses (1953), and Another Kind of Beauty (1960). When I found Margetson's entry on the 1939 England & Wales Register, her full name was given, lo and behold, as Rosamond Elisabeth Bertram Margetson, and her career was journalist. Add to that the dates during which both sets of books were published match up, and it seems pretty certain (though admittedly not absolutely proven) that Margetson and Bertram are one and the same.

There is considerable complexity and some tragedy involving Margetson's three marriages. There are indications, unearthed by John Herrington, that her first husband may have faked his own death and relocated to Australia, the discovery of which, only after she had remarried, caused her second marriage to fail. Wow! It was then not until many year's later, after her first husband finally did die, that she was able to marry once more, legally. Sadly, however, on her death record a bit more than a decade later, she is shown once again as a widow. On the 1939 Register, her birthdate is given as 22 Aug 1900, and information provided to Author's and Writer's for its 1935 edition says she was born in Ireland, but John discovered she was in fact born in 1898 around Birmingham. We are assuming the 22 Aug date is correct even if she shaved a couple of years off her age.

As luck would have it, John emailed me in just the past week or two with information about another author who was previously unidentified. EILEEN MEYLER was the author of a dozen or so children's titles, including some historical tales and a series of holiday stories featuring the Elwood family at their summer cottage in Dorset. The former include The Gloriet Tower (1956), set in a medieval castle, The Story of Elswyth (1959), set in Saxon England, and Apple Harvest (1970), which involves Monmouth's rebellion. The later stories include Adventure in Purbeck (1955), Adventure on Ponies (1959), Adventure Next Door (1960), and Adventure at Tremayne (1963). 

Happily, after this post went live, Barbara of the Call Me Madam / Life
Must Be Filled Up blog shared these three charming Meyler covers --
thank you Barbara!

We failed to identify her when researching my update, but John recently discovered she was Eileen Sylvia Meyler Shean (27 Dec 1900 - 5 Dec 1983). She had been a school principal who successfully turned her hand to writing. Thanks to John for that additional information, which will (eventually) get corrected in the main list!

Scans courtesy of FG!

Several highly intriguing children's authors have come my way courtesy of my Fairy Godmother. There will be three more of these (complete with the lovely dustjackets FG scanned for me) in the next post, but for now I'm only mentioning ANNE BARRETT, who sounds like a potential treasure to me. She was the author of seven children's titles in all. Her debut, Caterpillar Hill (1950), seems to have fantasy and time travel elements. Stolen Summer (1951) is the story of a girl and her widowed mother spending a summer in Dorset, while The Dark Island (1952) is about children on holiday in Ireland. The Journey of Johnny Rew (1954), also set in Dorset, is about a boy orphaned in the Blitz searching for his parents' origins. Songberd's Grove (1957), a runner up for the Carnegie Medal, is about two children fighting a neighborhood bully in London—the Guardian reviewer said the climactic scene was "as wild and ingenius as any Ealing comedy." Her other books were Sheila Burton: Dental Assistant (1956) and Midway (1967). Barrett's daughter came across some fascinating recollections her mother wrote about life in the A.T.S. in wartime Weymouth and shared them here.

I was also intrigued enough by KATHLEEN MACKENZIE to promptly order the first of a trio of books—The Starke Sisters (1963), Charlotte (1964), and Kelford Dig (1966)—which deal with girls being raised by their very Edwardian grandmother. Of course, I haven't got round to reading The Starke Sisters yet, but someday, "as God is my witness" and so on. Mackenzie wrote around two dozen children's books in all. Among the others are a number of pony stories, including a series featuring the Pentire children, beginning with The Four Pentires and Jimmy (1947), as well as individual stories including Minda (1953), Jumping Jan (1955), Nancy and the Carrs (1958), Prize Pony (1959), and The Pageant (1964) (see here for further details). Mackenzie appears on the 1939 England & Wales Register as an actress, which may explain the subject of her single biography, The Great Sarah: The Life of Mrs Siddons (1968).

CATHERINE ANTHONY CLARK was born and raised in England, though she and her rancher husband immigrated to British Columbia when she was in her twenties. She was a newspaper columnist and the author of seven children's titles with fantasy and folkloric themes, the first of which, The Golden Pine Cone (1950), appeared when she was in her late fifties. Her other titles are The Sun Horse (1951), The One-Winged Dragon (1955), The Silver Man (1959), The Diamond Feather, or the Door in the Mountain (1962), The Man with Yellow Eyes (1963), and The Hunter and the Medicine Man (1966).

Dora Fowler Martin

I already mentioned Stella Martin Currey among my "potential TBR" author posts in recent weeks. Now we come to Stella's aunt, DORA FOWLER MARTIN, who was also, therefore, the sister of J. P. Martin, known for the Uncle series of children's books. Dora was the author of three novels for adults—The Unseen Audience (1934), Wander Year (1935), and The Long Procession (1936)—about which I know next to nothing, and also two children's books, Two Young Adventurers (1938) and Caravan Days (1940).

The four children's titles by WENDY COOPER sound like they could be fun. The Laughing Lady (1957), which deals with the disappearance of a famous painting, Alibi Children (1958), The Cat Strikes at Night (1959), and Disappearing Diamonds (1960) were, fairly obviously, mystery and adventure stories. The first two at least seem to have been novelizations of BBC television productions. Cooper was also a journalist and a writer for television and radio. She contributed articles to numerous major periodicals, and published several books about women and science.

Fans of animal stories should have HELEN GRIFFITHS on their radar. She was the author of more than 20 children's titles, including titles like Horse in the Clouds (1957), Wild and Free (1958), Africano (1961), The Greyhound (1964), Stallion of the Sands (1968), Russian Blue (1973), The Kershaw Dogs (1978), and Hari's Pigeon (1982). More detail about her horse stories can be found here. Griffiths grew up in the U.K. but married a Spaniard and thereafter lived in Spain, so later titles appeared under the name Helen Santos. Her connection with Spain apparently informed her one adult novel, The Dark Swallows (1966), about an ill-fated romance during the Spanish Civil War. Two more of her children's titles, The Last Summer (1979) and Dancing Horses (1981), are also set immediately before and during the civil war, and focus (believe it or not) on a bull-fighting horse and her colt.

And on the topic of animal stories, there's CECILIA KNOWLES, whose five children's titles are often focused on animals. These include Hua Ma, the Flower Pony (1947), Torry, the Roe Deer (1950), We Went to Live in Scotland (1954), Kelpie, a Scottish Sheepdog (1958), and Hippo, a Welsh Cob (1960).

FREDA COLLINS was a playwright, lecturer, and children's author. Most of her plays and stories were religious in theme, but she also published a series of books about Brownies, including The Brownies at No. 9 (1936), The Pack That Ran Itself (1956), The Woodland Pack (1957), The Brownie Year (1957), The Good Turn Hunters (1963), and The Patchwork Pack (1968). On the 1939 England & Wales Register, she is identified as an air raid warden.

And rounding out this post are two authors of only two books each. ELSIE BLEY's are Tell Us a Tale (1950), illustrated by Grace Lodge, and The Secret of the Headland (1955), a holiday adventure featuring two children at the seaside with an aunt and her friend who were in the French Resistance. How much is made of the latter plot element is unknown, but it could be interesting.

And I know very little about the unidentified BARBARA GILSON's Beyond the Dragon Door (1934) and Queen of the Andes (1935), beyond that they appear to be girls' adventure stories.

Undoubtedly not all of these are treasures, but some of them might be. You just never know, which is what keeps me poking around! Next time, 12 more children's authors from my last update.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

A felicitous Provincial Lady-ish find: MAUD BATCHELOR, The Woman of the House (1934)

Perusing eBay seems to have become one of my ways of coping with social isolation. It all started with coming across a seller who had lots of titles from the 1950s, complete with scans of covers and front flaps, which are interesting and helpful in discovering what types of books an author actually wrote. I found lots of great information, which I haven't quite had a chance to process for my list yet. But of course such perusing has inevitably led to a few purchases…

In the case of The Woman of the House, there wasn't even a cover or flap to judge by, only a pic in which the seller was trying to show the book's condition but happened to include most of a page of text. And those few lines of text were too tantalizing for me to resist. Thankfully.

It seems pretty likely that The Woman of the House was at least somewhat inspired by E. M. Delafield's success with her Provincial Lady novels—some of my favorites of all time—of which the first two had already appeared by the time Batchelor's book was published in 1934. Here, however, we have a distinctly non-provincial lady, a clearly rather well-to-do London lady in fact, though her problems are often similar to those of her provincial counterpart.

In the opening pages, our narrator introduces us to her family, her husband Philip and her five children—Sholto, Douglas, Bruce, Patricia, and Dorcas. But once they're all introduced, the children are thereafter discussed only by their nicknames, Soup-plates, Binkie, Toodles, Patch, and, well, Dorcas, whose name suits her so perfectly that she was never given a nickname.

Who are Patricia and Bruce? I ask myself. Oh, yes, of course. Patch and Toodles. For I find it useless trying to remember each child by two names.

Philip is generally known as Pop, and our narrator, whose real name is never given (unless I've got delirious from too much coronavirus news and missed it), is known as Squib, "because I sometimes go off like one". And this is not to mention their cook, Splodge, whose nickname is a secret and who would not take kindly to its use.

Some readers might find the nicknames a bit cutesy but I thought them amusing, particularly since Soup-plates is already happily married, and Binkie and Toodles are beginning careers as musical comedy composers, so they're clearly all grown up. Dorcas, too, the responsible stay-at-home daughter, is clearly of age. Only Patch is still a minor, it seems, as she is sent off to boarding-school in the course of the novel, feeling devastated and unwanted at first only to quickly become a deity to many of the younger girls of her school, a role she seems to find perfectly comfortable.

The book begins with (and indeed perhaps results from) Squib's decision to take breakfast in her room each morning instead of with her family, so that she may have one precious hour to herself for her writing. Of course, this decision has repercussions, among which is that everyone seems to view it as an opportunity to come to her room and share their problems. But apparently she gets some time to herself, because her book gets itself written, and includes a memorable dinner party, the mixed feelings with which the marketable talents of Binkie and Toodles are greeted, Squib's visit to her elderly aunts (during which time her cook and maid become fed up with the children and leave), and the taking in of a paying guest, a young woman who collects and studies small animals, including a snake with a knack for escaping her room. Among other things.

Batchelor's style is not often as laugh-out-loud funny as Delafield's, though there are a few exceptions. But it has a charm of its own. While the Provincial Lady is often at her best pointing out the indifference and lack of appreciation with which she is treated by her family, and her awkwardness in social situations, Squib has a bit more sang-froid and she gets to devote a fair bit of time to her family's successes and her own practical handling of challenging predicaments. Though there are here and there some moments when she might be the PL herself, as when a neighbor broaches the subject of taking in a paying guest:

"Well," said Mrs. James Reade, "that's that. Daisy will soon start another hare." And then she asked me what I was going to do with so much space on my upper story.

For a wild moment I thought she was referring to my want of intellect, and was inclined to be huffy, but she meant the three rooms occupied recently by Patch, Binkie, and Toodles.

It's all prone to be a bit silly, which was, let's face it, exactly what I needed right now. In fact, since I can't very well share the entire novel with you right away, I am taking the liberty of sharing a couple of representative pages with you here. If you click on the image, you should be able to make it large enough to read the text.

One may not find as many passages here relevent to the plight of the middle class married woman attempting to have an intellectual and cultural life of her own as one does in Delafield's work. But if one has read the PL novels umpteen times and yearns for something similar and not quite so well-trodden, one could do much worse than The Woman of the House.

Sadly, unless she published other work under a pseudonym, this appears to be Maud Batchelor's one and only novel. I rather wish she had kept on, telling us more about her own exploits and those of her children—particularly the irresistible Binkie and Toodles. And I am intrigued by Squib's mention, in those pages I'm sharing, of a novel she had written three years earlier. Does that mean there's more Batchelor out there somewhere, in a grandchild's attic?

Batchelor, by the way, far from being a provincial lady, seems to have been a genuine London "Lady", according to a copyright entry. Lady Batchelor was apparently née Batty, but I've not got further with her than that.

I should also mention that the illustrations by Thea Doniach are simple but charming, and often complement the text amusingly.

If my other eBay finds, currently winging their way across the Atlantic (however sluggishly in COVID-19 time), turn out to be as charming as this one, I will consider them a great success!

Hope you're all staying mentally and physically well in your isolation. I heard from a kind reader the other day with a home on Dartmoor, and I thought how lovely it would be to be isolating somewhere with lovely open air instead of the San Francisco streets (however deserted they for the most part are—there have been numerous coyote sightings in the city as they begin to assume the streets now belong to them). Oh for a wander in the lovely English countryside now!

Friday, April 10, 2020


Last week, I posted my new "World War II Fiction List" (see here), which replaced and updated the fiction part of my old "World War II Book List" here. As promised, here is the replacement and update for the remaining part of that list, including primarily diaries and memoirs by women from my master list, but also including some other stray works of non-fiction that may be of interest (and also a few diaries or memoirs by women not on the main list but of particular interest).

This list, too, has a fair number of new additions from the research I've done in the past few years, and I hope you enjoy exploring it. Please let me know if I've left anything out or made any glaring errors!

UPDATED 4/23/2020 (thanks to all those who made suggestions!)

RUTH ADAM, A Woman's Place 1910-1975 (1975) NON-FICTION
Chronicles the changing roles of women in the 20th century, including during both world wars.

Golden Age mystery author's memoir of English village life in the early days of the war.

Humorous account of love and marriage against the backdrop of war. Reviewed here. Available as a Furrowed Middlebrow reprint.

LUCILLA ANDREWS, No Time for Romance (1977) DIARY/MEMOIR
Powerful memoir of wartime London by a nurse and future romance novelist. Relied upon by Ian McEwan in writing Atonement.

BETTY ARMITAGE, Betty's Wartime Diary 1939-1945 (2002) DIARY/MEMOIR
War diary of a former theatrical dresser and seamstress.

DOROTHY BADEN-POWELL, They Also Serve: An SOE Agent in the WRNS (2004) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of a woman who worked in the Scandinavian section of the Special Operations Executive, sending agents into occupied Norway, and was subsequently recruited to track down enemy spies in the WRNS.

ENID BAGNOLD, Autobiography (1969) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of the acclaimed and controversial novelist and playwright.

MONICA BALDWIN, I Leap Over the Wall: Contrasts and Impressions After Twenty-eight Years in a Convent (1949) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of a Catholic nun adapting to secular life again, with the twist that her departure from the convent takes place in October, 1941.

MARGARET BANNING, Letters from England, Summer 1942 (1943) DIARY/MEMOIR
An American's perspective on how war affected women's lives.

Details Bannister's wartime experiences as the wife of a German.

MIRREN BARFORD & JOCK LEWES, Joy Street: A Wartime Romance in Letters, 1940-1942 (1995) DIARY/MEMOIR
Letters, discovered by her son after Barford's death, chronicling her ill-fated wartime romance with an army officer.

EVELYN BARK, No Time to Kill (1960) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir including her war experiences, including her experience in the Red Cross as one of the first to enter Belsen concentration camp after the war.

E. M. BARRAUD, Set My Hand Upon the Plough (1945) DIARY/MEMOIR
Covers Barraud's experiences in the Women's Land Army.

EDITH BASE, Dearest Phylabe: Letters from Wartime England (1996) DIARY/MEMOIR
Letters from a Londoner to her friend in the U.S., covering 1941-1947.

DOREEN BATES, Diary of a Wartime Affair (2016) DIARY/MEMOIR
Diary of a passionate office affair between a young woman and her older colleague, from the mid-1930s into the war.

SYBILLE BEDFORD, Quicksands: A Memoir (2005) DIARY/MEMOIR
Novelist's autobiography, including her experiences during the war.

THEODORA BENSON, Sweethearts and Wives: Their Part in War (1942) NON-FICTION
Illustrated book about women at war by the novelist and humorist.

Memoir of an Englishwoman married to a German man and living in Germany. Dramatized for television as Christabel.

Sequel to The Past Is Myself, dealing with the postwar years.

EDITHA L. BLAIKLEY, "No Soldier": The 1942 Diary of Miss Editha Blaikley of Wren Cottage (1992) DIARY/MEMOIR
Diary of wartime life in a Sussex village, by a novelist and playwright.

URSULA BLOOM, War Isn't Wonderful (1961) DIARY/MEMOIR
Prolific romance author's memoir of wartime life.

VIOLET BONHAM-CARTER, Champion Redoubtable: The Diaries and Letters of Violet Bonham Carter, 1914-1945 DIARY/MEMOIR
Second volume of the diaries of the daughter of Prime Minister Herbert Asquith, covering both World Wars.

MARY BORDEN, Journey Down a Blind Alley (1946) DIARY/MEMOIR
Author's account of running a British field hospital in the Middle East during WWII.

MARY BOSANQUET, Journey Into a Picture (1947) DIARY/MEMOIR
Account of the author's trip through Italy in the final year of World War II.

PHYLLIS BOTTOME, The Mansion House of Liberty (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
Described as "snapshots of England at war" (aka Formidable to Tyrants).

EDWARD BRAITHWAITE et al., The Home Front: The Best of Good Housekeeping 1939-1945 (1987) NON-FICTION
Anthology of wartime pieces from Good Housekeeping.

PAMELA BRIGHT, Life in Our Hands (1955) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of a nursing sister who was at D-Day and went with the Allies into Germany.

JOAN BRIGHT ASTLEY, The Inner Circle: A View of War at the Top (1971) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of the war years by a woman who managed British conference delegations and witnessed meetings at the highest levels.

Testament of Youth author's memoir of the early days of WWII.

VERA BRITTAIN, Wartime Chronicle: Diary 1939-1945 (1989) DIARY/MEMOIR
Brittain's diary of the war years.

BRYHER, The Days of Mars: A Memoir 1940-1946 (1972) DIARY/MEMOIR
Recollections of the war by the historical novelist and supporter of the avant-garde.

NANCY CALDWELL-SOREL, The Women Who Wrote the War (1999) NON-FICTION
Biographical work about women journalists who covered World War II.

IRIS CARPENTER, No Woman's World: On the Campaign in Western Europe, 1944-45 (1946) DIARY/MEMOIR
Account of the final days of the war in Europe by a trail-blazing journalist.

BARBARA CARTLAND, The Years of Opportunity: 1939-1945 (1948) DIARY/MEMOIR
Prolific romance novelist's memoir of the war years.

CATHERINE MARY CHRISTIAN, The Big Test: The Story of the Girl Guides in the World War (1947) NON-FICTION
Popular girls' author takes a look at the Guides' role in the war.

Includes interesting detail about author's wartime experiences.

OLIVIA COCKETT, Love & War in London: A Woman's Diary, 1939-1942 (2005) DIARY/MEMOIR
Diary of a young woman working at Scotland Yard in wartime—and carrying on a clandestine affair with a married man at the office.

IDA COOK (aka MARY BURCHELL), We Followed Our Stars (1950, aka Safe Passage) DIARY/MEMOIR
Powerful memoir of the Cook sisters' trips into Nazi Germany just before WWII to help Jewish friends escape.

DIANA COOPER, Trumpets from the Steep (1960) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of the war years by the famous Lady Cooper, who encountered many of the most prominent people of the time.

MONICA COSENS, Evacuation: A Social Revolution (1940) NON-FICTION
Based on Cosens' survey of London mothers and young children in reception areas in 1939.

VIRGINIA COWLES, Looking for Trouble (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
American journalist's account of her experiences as a war correspondent in 1936 to 1941, including the Spanish Civil War and the beginning of World War II.

Details her wartime experiences as a Red Cross nurse.

CLEMENCE DANE, The Shelter Book (1940) NON-FICTION
Subtitled "A Gathering of Tales, Poems, Essays, Notes, and Notions…for Use in Shelters, Tubes, Basements and Cellars in War-Time."

Memoir of her entire life, but including her dramatic wartime experiences in Budapest, including concealing, along with her cellist husband, a Jewish composer disguised as a priest.

E. M. DELAFIELD, People You Love: On the Status of the Family Under Nazism (1940) NON-FICTION
Only 30 pages in length, Delafield's contribution to World War II propaganda.

ELIZABETH DENHAM, I Looked Right: On the Author's Experiences as a British Agent in France (1956) DIARY/MEMOIR
Describes her adventures aiding the French resistance before and after she is captured after looking the wrong way before crossing a street.

A sequel of sorts to One Pair of Hands, this one follows Dickens through the tribulations of nursing in wartime.

VERA DOUIE, Daughters of Britain: An Account of the Work of British Women During the Second World War (1950) NON-FICTION
Early summary of women's war work.

MADELAINE DUKE (pseudonym of ???), Top Secret Mission (1954) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of a "girl agent" searching for missing German atomic scientists.

LEONORA EYLES, Eating Well in Wartime (1940) NON-FICTION
Novelist's foray into cookbooks, helping families cope with rationing.

LEONORA EYLES, For My Enemy Daughter (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
A series of letters—which couldn't be sent—to Eyles' daughter, living in Italy with her Italian husband during the war years.

NAN FAIRBROTHER, Children in the House (1954) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of the author's experiences evacuating with her two sons from London to a house in the Buckinghamshire countryside.

Vivid and powerful account of life in London during the Blitz. Essential reading. Reviewed here. Available as a Furrowed Middlebrow reprint.

Memoir of life in Germany in the years immediately following the war. Reviewed here. Available as a Furrowed Middlebrow reprint.

Ferguson's humorous second memoir about life in Kensington (following the pre-war Passionate Kensington), this one covering the war years.

Subtitled "Sketches of the life of a naval officer's wife".

Popular cooking author's account of WWII and her life in Chelsea during the Blitz.

Second volume of memoirs, covers the postwar years.

DIANA FORBES-ROBERTSON, The Battle of Waterloo Road (1941) NON-FICTION
Narrative of the Blitz and its effects on the people of working-class Lambeth, accompanied by the photographs of Robert Capa.

Final volume of Forrester's acclaimed memoirs, dealing with her youth in Liverpool during WWII.

WINIFRED FORTESCUE, Laughter in Provence (1950) DIARY/MEMOIR
Wartime entries in Fortescue's series of humorous memoirs about life in Provence.

Memoir of Fowler's experience of being the only woman among 35 passengers stranded for 10 days in a lifeboat after their ship was torpedoed.

PAULA FOX, The Coldest Winter: A Stringer in Liberated Europe (2005) DIARY/MEMOIR
American novelist's memoir of working for a news service in immediate postwar Europe.

Vivid account of wartime factory work, growing out of Fremlin's involvement with Mass Observation.

CELIA FREMLIN, Living Through the Blitz (1976) DIARY/MEMOIR
Fremlin's memoir of her own experiences in the war.

ANNA FREUD, Infants without Families: Reports on the Hampstead Nurseries, 1939-1945 (1944) NON-FICTION
Not from my Overwhelming List, obviously, and not of interest to everyone, but this was a pioneering work of child psychology based on Freud’s studies of children orphaned and traumatized by war.

MURIEL GARDINER, Code Name 'Mary': Memoirs of an American Woman in the Austrian Underground (1983) DIARY/MEMOIR
Gardiner, later a prominent psychoanalyst, tells of her experiences in the Austrian anti-fascist movement in the years leading up to World War II.

RUMER GODDEN, A Time To Dance, No Time To Weep (1987) DIARY/MEMOIR
The first volume of her autobiography, including her dramatic and eventful time living in India during World War II.

VIRGINIA GRAHAM, Consider the Years 1938-1946 (2000) NON-FICTION
Collection of Graham's (mostly) humorous poems about wartime life, reprinted by Persephone.

JOYCE GRENFELL, The Time of My Life: Entertaining the Troops (1988) DIARY/MEMOIR
Wartime journals by popular actress and comedian.

Letters to her mother 1932-1944, including her wartime experiences.

Memoir of her experiences as a war correspondent for The Daily Sketch during World War II.

MARTIN HARE (writing anonymously), The Dark Side of the Moon (1946) NON-FICTION
Account of Soviet brutality against the Poles during WWII, published anonymously, probably to protect family living in Poland.

JENNY HARTLEY, Hearts Undefeated: Women's Writing of the Second World War (1994) NON-FICTION
Anthology of non-fiction by women about the war, from letters, memoirs, diaries, and other sources.

American journalist's experiences working as a machine operator in an American airplane factory.

DOREEN HAWKINS, Drury Lane to Dimapur: Wartime Adventures of an Actress (2009) DIARY/MEMOIR
Account of actress who entertained both in Britain and abroad during the war.

MARJORIE HESSELL TILTMAN, A Little Place in the Country (1944) DIARY/MEMOIR
Second of author's three memoirs of farming life. This volume takes her through the early war years.

VERE HODGSON, Few Eggs and No Oranges (1976) DIARY/MEMOIR
Incomparable diary of life in London during the war, reprinted by Persephone.

INEZ HOLDEN, It Was Different at the Time (1943) DIARY/MEMOIR
Underrated novelist's memoir of the early years of the war.

HILDA HOLLINGSWORTH, They Tied a Label on My Coat (1991) DIARY/MEMOIR
Recollections of a child evacuee during the war.

ANTONIA HUNT, Little Resistance: A Teenage English Girl's Adventures in Occupied France (1982) DIARY/MEMOIR
The subtitle says it all.

ELSPETH HUXLEY, Atlantic Ordeal: The Story of Mary Cornish (1941) NON-FICTION
Story of the nurse who helped a group of children in a lifeboat survive after the sinking of the City of Benares.

FAY INCHFAWN, Salute to the Village (1943) DIARY/MEMOIR
Christian-themed recollections of life in an English village in the first years of the war. Reviewed here.

FAY INCHFAWN, Those Remembered Days (1964) DIARY/MEMOIR
Late memoir in which Inchfawn also reflects on the war years.

Rather stiff and preachy wartime entry in Jacob's series of me-centered memoirs.

STORM JAMESON, Journey from the North (1969) DIARY/MEMOIR
Prominent novelist's autobiography, covering the years of both World Wars.

F. TENNYSON JESSE, London Front: Letters Written to America 1939-1940 (1940) DIARY/MEMOIR
First of two volumes of Jesse's compiled letters to American friends during the war.

F. TENNYSON JESSE, While London Burns (1942) DIARY/MEMOIR
Second volume of her letters to American friends.

F. TENNYSON JESSE, The Saga of San Demetrio (1942) NON-FICTION
Non-fiction telling the tale of a burning tanker that was reboarded by its crew and salvaged. Later made into a film.

SHIRLEY JOSEPH, If Their Mothers Only Knew: An Unofficial History of Life in the Women's Land Army (1946) NON-FICTION
Informal history of the Land Army, written immediately after the war.

ZELMA KATIN, 'Clippie': The Autobiography of a War Time Conductress (1944) DIARY/MEMOIR
Harrowing view of life as a tram conductor during the war.

BARBARA KAYE, The Company We Kept (1986) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of wartime life with her antiquarian bookseller husband and their many literary friends.

Popular novelist's experiences living in "Bomb Alley" in Sussex during World War II.

MARION KELSEY, Victory Harvest: Diary of a Canadian in the Women's Land Army, 1940-1944 (1997) DIARY/MEMOIR
The title sums it up.

MARGARET KENNEDY, Where Stands a Wingèd Sentry (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
Popular novelist's memoir (with a bit of "come into the war, America!" propaganda) of life with her family in a village by the coast.

RACHEL KNAPPETT, A Pullet on the Midden (1946) DIARY/MEMOIR
The author's experiences as a Land Girl.

CAROLE LANDIS, Four Jills in a Jeep (1944) DIARY/MEMOIR
Entertainer's memoir of her experiences, along with Kay Francis, Martha Raye, and Mitzi Mayfair, of wartime USO performances. Made into a film starring the four women in 1944.

NELLA LAST, Nella Last's War (1981) DIARY/MEMOIR
NELLA LAST, Nella Last's Peace (2008) DIARY/MEMOIR
NELLA LAST, Nella Last in the 1950s (2010) DIARY/MEMOIR
Diaries of a middle-aged housewife who found stimulation and challenge in her war work and frustration at being forced back into her housewife role in the years after.

MOLLY LEFEBURE, Evidence for the Crown (1954) DIARY/MEMOIR
Entertaining and sometimes harrowing account of working in the London coroner's office during the war.

ANITA LESLIE, Train to Nowhere (1948) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoirs of her harrowing experiences as an ambulance drive in France. The later memoirs includes additional recollections.

DOROTHY MACARDLE, Children of Europe: A Study of the Children of Liberated Countries (1949) NON-FICTION
Acclaimed study of the effects of war on children, stemming from her work with refugees.

ROSE MACAULAY, Letters to a Sister (1964) DIARY/MEMOIR
A selection of letters to her sister Jean, including some describing wartime situations.

YVONNE MACDONALD, Red Tape Notwithstanding (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
Subtitled "A Story of the Mechanised Transport Corps in France from November 1939 to June 1940."

Compelling and harrowing tale of her escape back to England after the fall of France, keeping barely one step ahead of the Nazi invaders. Reviewed here.

CECILY MACKWORTH, In the Mouth of the Sword (1949) POSTWAR
Journalistic work about the Middle East in the aftermath of the war.

Memoir of the war by the novelist and passionate pacifist.

HILDE MARCHANT, Women and Children Last: A Woman Reporter's Account of the Battle of Britain (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
Trail-blazing journalist's account of the Battle of Britain.

Journalist's later reportage on life during wartime.

Memoir of her experiences as director of the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRNS) during World War II.

CLARA MILBURN, Mrs. Milburn's Diaries (1979) DIARY/MEMOIR
Important record of domestic life in Coventry during the war—including the terrible raids on the town and news that her son was M.I.A. after Dunkirk.

Wartime diary of a "housewife" (who also happens to have written children's books and two novels).

JOAN MILLER, One Girl's War: Personal Exploits in MI5's Most Secret Station (1986) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of an MI5 who was only in her early 20s when World War II began. Reportedly published despite efforts by MI5 to prevent it (see here).

NAOMI MITCHISON, Among You Taking Notes (1985) DIARY/MEMOIR
Novelist's wartime diaries, which she began as a volunteer for Mass Observation.

JOANNA MOODY, From Churchill’s War Rooms: Letters of a Secretary 1943-45 (2007) DIARY/MEMOIR
Collection of letters written by a young secretary in Churchill's War Rooms to her fiancé.

KATHARINE MOORE, A Family Life 1939-1945 (1989) DIARY/MEMOIR
Novelist and scholar's memoir of life in Kent during the war, including her time at a girls' school in the late years of the war.

GWENDA MORGAN, The Diary of a Land Girl, 1939-1945 (2002) DIARY/MEMOIR
Well-known engraver's diary of her time on a farm outside Petworth.

BESSY MYERS, Captured: My Experiences as an Ambulance Driver and as a Prisoner of the Nazis (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
British ambulance driver's recollections of her service in France and her time as a prisoner of war (along with the likes of Colette).

JENNY NICHOLSON, Kiss the Girls Goodbye: On Life in the Women's Services (1944) NON-FICTION
Discussion of the widely-varied war work women performed.

Collection of letters between a group of family and friends in 1944-1946, collected by the half-sister of Constance Miles (see above).

BARBARA NIXON, Raiders Overhead (1943) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of the early years of the war by an air raid warden.

EDITH OLIVIER, Night-Thoughts of a Country Landlady (1943) DIARY/MEMOIR
Novelist's lightly fictionalized but highly autobiographical musings on wartime life.

EDITH OLIVIER, From Her Journals, 1924-1948 (1989) DIARY/MEMOIR
Excerpts of her journals, including those from World War II, interspersed with biographical information.

IRIS ORIGO, War in Val d'Orcia (1947) DIARY/MEMOIR
Prominent biographer's account of living in Italy during World War II, helping refugee children and later escaped Allied prisoners of war.

IRIS ORIGO, A Chill in the Air: An Italian War Diary 1939-1940 (2017) DIARY/MEMOIR
An additional diary from the author of War in Val d'Orcia, only recently published after being discovered after her death.

MOLLIE PANTER-DOWNES, London War Notes 1939-1945 (1971) DIARY/MEMOIR
Collection of her wartime "Letter from London" pieces from The New Yorker. Reprinted by Persephone.

First volume of her voluminous diaries, detailing the complications of being, along with her husband Ralph Partridge, a pacifist in wartime.

POLLY PEABODY, Occupied Territory (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of an American Red Cross worker traveling in occupied nations, particularly France.

The second volume (after A Nurse in Time) of Prentis' memoirs of a life in nursing covers her experiences in London during the war years.

BARBARA PYM, A Very Private Eye (1984) DIARY/MEMOIR
Pym's diaries, including those written during the war.

HERMIONE RANFURLY, To War with Whitaker: The Wartime Diaries of the Countess of Ranfurly, 1939–1945 DIARY/MEMOIR
WWII diaries about her determination to follow her soldier husband into the Middle East and Africa.

JOAN RICE, Sand in My Shoes: Wartime Diaries of a WAAF (2006) DIARY/MEMOIR
Humorous wartime diaries by the mother of lyricist Tim Rice.

MOLLY RICH, A Vicarage in the Blitz: The Wartime Letters of Molly Rich 1940-1944 (2010) DIARY/MEMOIR
Collected wartime letters by the wife of Edward Rich, a prominent vicar.

Including the poet's wartime verse, considered to be among her best work.

LYNETTE ROBERTS, Diaries, Letters and Recollections (2008) DIARY/MEMOIR
Collection of important poet's other writings, including many dealing with her time in rural south Wales during World War II.

ESTHER ROWLEY, Dogs, Goats, Bulbs and Bombs : Esther Rowley's Wartime Diaries of Exmouth and Exeter (2010) DIARY/MEMOIR
Diary of an independent woman living in a heavily bombed area by the docks and an army camp near Exmouth and Exeter.

NAOMI ROYDE-SMITH, Outside Information (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
Novelist's diary of the tumultuous first months of the war.

MAUD RUSSELL, A Constant Heart: The War Diaries of Maud Russell 1938-1945 (2017) DIARY/MEMOIR
Diary of an upper-crust woman (her home, Mottisfont Abbey in Hampshire, now belongs to the National Trust) whose friends include celebrities of political and artistic life.

VITA SACKVILLE-WEST, Country Notes in Wartime (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
A compilation of short pieces on country life and gardening which first appeared in The New Statesman and Nation.

"[C]ombines an account of the girls' successes with comment on some of the ugly prejudice they had to endure, and a gloomy assessment of their chances of continuing on the land after the war" (Elizabeth Maslen).

VITA SACKVILLE-WEST, Vita and Harold: The Letters of Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicolson (1992) DIARY/MEMOIR
Includes the prominent couple's letters from the war, when they were often separated due to Nicolson's work in London.

MARY LEE SETTLE, All the Brave Promises: Memories of Aircraft Woman Second Class 2146391 (1966) DIARY/MEMOIR
American novelist's memoir of her war experiences.

EVELYN SHILLINGTON, Eve's War: The Diaries of a Military Wife during the Second World War (2017) DIARY/MEMOIR
Diary of an army wife who actually accompanied her husband on his postings, with a unique view of wartime life and ending up in devastated Italy.

HILDA SILBERMAN, Unimportant Letters of Important Years 1941-1951 (1951) DIARY/MEMOIR
Silberman's letters to friends during World War II and the years immediately after.

EDITH SITWELL, The Song of the Cold (1945) NON-FICTION
EDITH SITWELL, The Shadow of Cain (1947) NON-FICTION
Three collections containing the modernist poet's wartime verse.

BARBARA SKELTON, Tears Before Bedtime (1987) DIARY/MEMOIR
Novelist's acclaimed memoir of World War II.

KAY SMALLSHAW, How to Run Your Home without Help (1949) NON-FICTION
Housekeeping guide with interesting insights into life in the years just after the war. Reviewed here.

EMMA SMITH, Maidens' Trip (1948) DIARY/MEMOIR
Novelist's account of working on the canals of England during the war.

MAY SMITH, These Wonderful Rumours!: A Young Schoolteacher's Wartime Diaries 1939-1945 (2012) DIARY/MEMOIR
Schoolteacher's witty war diaries, telling of life as a teacher in a village near Derby.

NANCY SPAIN, Thank You, Nelson (1945) DIARY/MEMOIR
Witty memoir of the eccentric novelist's experiences in the W.R.N.S.

FREYA STARK, Dust in the Lion's Paw: Autobiography 1939-1946 (1961) DIARY/MEMOIR
Travel author's recollections of the war years.

Middle volume of Storey's popular trio of humorous memoirs, covering the war years.

JOAN STRANGE, Despatches From the Home Front: The War Diaries of Joan Strange 1939-1945
Diary of a physiotherapist living in Worthing.

JAN STRUTHER, Women of Britain (1941) DIARY/MEMOIR
Collection of letters from women in Britain, introduced and commented upon by the author of Mrs Miniver.

JANET TEISSIER DU CROS, Divided Loyalties: A Scotswoman in Occupied France (1962) DIARY/MEMOIR
Memoir of a Scottish women living in southern France during the war.

RUBY THOMPSON, World War II London Blitz Diary (2013) DIARY/MEMOIR
Wartime diaries of an unhappily-married woman who used her diaries as an outlet for her frustrations.

Memoir of her travels as a dancer in wartime Europe.

Collection of letters written by the author, who lived on the German-occupied Channel Island of Sark, to her daughter in England, which couldn't be sent until the war's end.

Includes Warner's letters recording her impressions of the war years.

Novelist's heavily edited but vivid thoughts and reactions to the events of the Blitz and the war in general.

HILARY WAYNE, Two Odd Soldiers (1946) DIARY/MEMOIR
Details the exploits of the author and her daughter in the ATS during WWII.

MOLLY WEIR, Shoes Were for Sunday (1970) DIARY/MEMOIR
Comedienne's memoir of her childhood in postwar Glasgow.

MAUREEN WELLS, Entertaining Eric: Letters from the Home Front 1941-1944 (1988) DIARY/MEMOIR
Humorous letters from a young girl engaged in the war effort to her boyfriend stationed in the Middle East.

REBECCA WEST, The Phoenix: The Meaning of Treason (1949) NON-FICTION
Novelist/journalist's essay on Brits who worked with the Germans during the war, including the notorious Lord Haw-Haw.

REBECCA WEST, A Train of Powder (1955) NON-FICTION
West's articles about the Nuremberg trials, originally published in The New Yorker.

DOROTHY WHIPPLE, Random Commentary: Books and Journals Kept from 1925 Onwards (1966) DIARY/MEMOIR
Charmingly "random" diary recording Whipple's literary success and personal life; the second half or so feature the trials of the war years. Reviewed here.

Published before the war, but apparently this activity book for children was in very popular use with parents during the war, who faced the challenge of keeping children busy in bomb shelters.

VIRGINIA WOOLF, The Diary of Virginia Woolf: Volume V 1936-1941 (1984) DIARY/MEMOIR
Final volume of her diary, in which the approach of war and the war itself is frequently mentioned.

VIRGINIA WOOLF, Leave the Letters Till We're Dead: Collected Letters VI 1936-1941 (1980) DIARY/MEMOIR
Includes Woolf's letters dealing with the war.

Account of her experiences as a canal boat worker during World War II.

Irrepressible and highly-sexed diaries of a young girl coming of age just as war begins. The second volume traces the second half of the war, and the third follows her exploits into the postwar years.
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