Tag Archives: Isobel Grundy

A Lasting Literary Collaboration – Beyond the Grave

29 March. On this day in 1906 Martin Ross (born Violet Florence Martin) made her will, leaving her worldly possessions (including her literary copyrights) to her second cousin and literary collaborator Edith Somerville. This was an obvious disposition of her literary legacy, since the two women were inseparable and the partnership “Somerville and Ross” was famous in a way that neither writer was alone. Ross lived nearly another ten years after this. She died on 21 December 1915, and Somerville wrote in her diary: “This black, black year goes out in despair and tears.” The two most famous Somerville …

Naomi Jacob – Novelist Conventional & Extraordinary

13 March. On this day in 1930 Naomi Jacob published one of her many popular novels, The Beloved Physician, whose doctor-protagonist is female. She dedicated it to Ethel Bentham, a friend, a doctor, and a fellow member of the Labour Party. This was the year in which Dr Bentham changed the course of Jacob’s life by advising her to pull out of a campaign to get herself elected and instead to go abroad for her health (she had survived tuberculosis). She thereupon moved to Italy, which became her home or her base of operations for the rest of …

Constance Smedley – Renaissance Woman

9 March. On this day in 1941 Constance Smedley died. She was a proud Brummie and an internationalist, a feminist and suffragist, an illustrator and stage designer, a journalist, novelist, playwright and creator of pageants, a lifelong campaigner for the poor and for the arts, and for the right of poor people to have access to art. She lived with disability, getting around on crutches in her youth and in a wheelchair from her mid thirties. She was instrumental in founding the Lyceum Club (today the International Association of Lyceum Clubs). This was to promote cultural exchange between women …

Lady Lucy Herbert – Prioress

5 March. On this day in 1709 an aristocratic, Roman Catholic Englishwoman, Lady Lucy Herbert, was elected Prioress or Mother Superior of her convent, that of the English Augustinians at Bruges. She had been known ever since her espousal of the religious life not by her original name but as Sister Teresa Joseph; she now became Mother Teresa Joseph. Her position was not unusual: since Roman Catholic institutions were for generations illegal in Britain, parents who wanted their daughters brought up as Catholics, and who could afford it, often shipped them off to convents in France or the Low …