Sunday, February 28, 2010

John Lodwick

Peal of Ordnance by John Lodwick (Digit Books R511, Jul 1961).
Sergeant Tamplin was an explosives expert during the war; he knew how to carry out demolitions and fix booby-traps of all descriptions. That was his job in the Army.
__But, quite apart from his liking for explosives, Bob Tamplin had an incurable lust for action and adventure which led him into very strange waters after he became the victim of an accident.
__For sheer pace of action and nail-biting suspense this unusual story, which has its roots in the last war, can surely be second to none.
John Alan Patrick Lodwick was born in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, on 2 March 1916, the son of the late Captain John Thornton Lodwick, D.S.O., of the Gurka Rifles, who died on 30 December 1915 when the S.S. Persia was torpedoed in the Mediterranean, and Kathleen, daughter of Sir Henry Ashbrooke-Crump.

Educated at Cheltenham College and R.N.C. Dartmouth, which he was later to describe in his book The Cradle of Neptune. He spent some time in Dublin, working as a journalist, before moving to France where he wrote several unpublished novels (or plays, depending on the account read). He joined the French Foreign Legion at the outbreak of the Second World War (he won the Croix de Guerre (palmes) in 1940) and was captured and recaptured a number of times. These experiences formed the basis for his first novel, Running to Paradise (winner of the Dodd, Mead War Novel Prize), which he began writing whilst in Vichy France. He served in the Mediterranean with the Special Boat Service and wrote an entertaining account of that arm's achievements in The Filibusters. He was mentioned in despatches in 1945.

Between 1943 and 1960 he published 17 well-received novels and five non-fiction books. Some of the critical reception of his work is discussed in his entry on Wikipedia.

Equator by John Lodwick (Panther Books 871, Jan 1959)

Newspaper reports dated 11 March 1959 noted that Lodwick had survived a car accident at Villafra ca del Panades in which four people, including prominent Spanish publisher Jose James. were killed. Lodwick, who had lived in Spain for fifteen years, and his friends were on their way to a local feast when their car skidded on a wet road and hit a tree. Lodwick survived his injuries for only a week; he died on 18 March.

He was working on the second volume of his autobiography, only completing an 80-page section which was published posthumously as The Asparagus Trench but which impressed reviewers. Jeremy Brook, in his Observer review (4 Sep 1960), said: "Had Lodwick lived to complete the book there can be little doubt that it would have been one of the most distinguished autobiographies to have been published in many years. But the fragment we have can stand alone: perfect in form, tantalisingly allusive, full of youth's irrecoverable imaginative vitality, and as passionately concerned with what lies below the surface of life as it is witty about the surface itself."

Lodwick listed his recreations in Who's Who as climbing and smuggling.

Running to Paradise. London, Methuen & Co., 1943.
Myrmyda. A novel of the Aegean. London, Methuen & Co., 1946; as Striking Force, London, Brown Watson (Digit Books), 1958.
Peal of Ordnance. London, Methuen & Co., 1947; as The Destroyer, London, Brown Watson (Digit Books), 1958.
Twenty East of Greenwich; or, A Barnum Among the Robespierres. London, William Heinemann, 1947.
Brother Death. London, William Heinemann, 1948.
Something in the Heart. London, William Heinemann, 1948.
Just a Song at Twilight. London, William Heinemann, 1949.
First Steps Inside the Zoo. London, William Heinemann, 1950.
Stamp Me Mortal. London, William Heinemann, 1950.
The Cradle of Neptune. London, William Heinemann, 1951.
Love Bade Me Welcome. London, William Heinemann, 1952.
Somewhere a Voice is Calling. London, William Heinemann, 1953.
The Butterfly Net. London, William Heinemann, 1954.
The Starless Night. London, Heinemann, 1955.
Contagion to This World. London, Heinemann, 1956; as Plague Within, London, Landsborough Publications (Four Square 19), 1958.
Equator. London, Heinemann, 1957.
The Moon Through a Dusty Window. London, Heinemann, 1960.

The Filibusters. The story of the Special Boat Service. London, Methuen & Co., 1947; as Raiders from the Sea. The story of the Special Boat Service in WWII, with a new forward by Lord Jellicoe, London, Greenhill, 1990.
The Forbidden Coast. The story of a journey to Rio de Oro, etc. London, Cassell & Co., 1956.
Bid the Soldier Shoot. London, Heinemann, 1958.
Gulbenkian. An interpretation of Calouste Sarkis Gulbenkian, with D. H. Young. London, Heinemann, 1958.
The Asparagus Trench. An autobiographical beginning. London, Heinemann, 1960.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Effie Adelaide Rowlands

Effie Adelaide Rowlands, also known as Madame E. Maria Albanesi, was a prolific and popular romance writer who wrote dozens of novels from the 1880s until her death in 1936, with some 260 books appearing (rather more than the 29 novels credited to her credited to her in an obituary in New York Times which said "she turned out one book a year on the average"). The (London) Times obituary noted "She had not much distinction of style, but she knew how to tell a story, and the sentimental interest which characterized her work was the reflection of her own warm-hearted and affectionate nature."

She was born Effie Henderson, in Adelaide, South Australia, in around 1858/59 (although The Literary Yearbook listed her year of birth as 1864). Her father was Alexander Henderson (1828-1886), born in Hutton Soil, Cumberland, who worked for the railway department of the post office, leaving in 1852 to become secretary to comedian and actor E. A. Sothern. Sothern left for Boston in 1852 and Henderson also left the country, sailing from Liverpool to Australia, leaving a wife and child behind.

Effie Henderson is said to have been Alexander Henderson's illegitimate daughter, although it would appear that Henderson [whose complex marital status we'll come to] married Effie's mother, Maria Nelson, in Hobart, Tasmania, on 26 December 1853. The couple had two children:
  • Caroline Sidney Henderson ("Carrie Hope"), born 9 January 1855.
  • Effie Adelaide Henderson, born c.1858/59.
Henderson launched into a successful theatrical career in Australia, and is said to have laid the foundations of his fortune in that country. Maria Nelson's father was Sidney Nelson, a well-known composer and he joined in a number of Nelson family ventures. He later became the acting manager of the Princess's Theatre in Melbourne in 1858 when it was re-opened and was involved with the Victoria Theatre, Adelaide, where a complimentary benefit was given on 5 September 1859 which heavily involved Miss Marie Nelson, "who has for some time been absent from her professional duties, met with a most enthusiastic reception upon her reappearance." (South Australian Advertiser, 6 Sept. 1859) Whether this has any significance regards the period in which Effie Henderson was born I cannot say, although it is perhaps worth a note that Marie Nelson appears not to have been part of the tour carried out by the Nelson family in late 1858, both Miss Nelson and Alexander Henderson having farewell benefits at the Victoria on 18 October and 30 October 1858 respectively.

Alexander Henderson was in Liverpool in December 1859 when, looking for some entertainment, he visited Clayton Hall and immediately secured the lease. He returned to Australia for six months until the hall became vacant. The Prince of Wales Theatre opened in December 1861 and "became noted for the manner in which the various pieces were staged, and the first class companies engaged to represent them. Some of our best known actors and actresses may be said almost to have made their names there." (The Life and Reminiscences of E. L. Blanchard, 1891, online in part here)

In 1871, the Henderson sisters were boarders in Victoria Road, West Derby, Lancashire, with Elizabeth Barker and her daughters—both teachers. Caroline became an actress under the name Carrie Hope, and worked with a number of different companies most notably in almost a thousand times as Kate Denby in Taken from Life. On 8 January 1877, she married comedian William Henry Hallatt (actually Hullatt) at Parish Church in St. Luke's, Chelsea, and had two children: Maria Effie Hallatt (the actress May Hallatt) and Alexander Norman Hallatt.

Carrie Sydney Hallatt died in Marylebone, London, on 19 October 1887, her age recorded as being 26, although she was actually 32.

Her death followed some 18 months after that of her father who had travelled to Europe, breaking his leg on the pier at Calais; he died in Cannes on 1 February 1886. [Blanchard records that he died in Caen, Normandy, but this have simply been where he received his initial treatment; most sources agree that he died in Cannes.]

Henderson had been involved in numerous theatrical enterprises over the previous 15 years, including the management of the Theatre Royal, Birkenhead, where he first employed burlesque actress Lydia Thompson in 1864.

Born Eliza Hodges Thompson in Covent Garden, London, on 19 February 1838, Lydia Thompson became head of the Lydia Thompson Burlesque Troup and travelled with Alexander Henderson to America in 1868 and her "British Blondes" became a sensation, a six month engagement extending to three years before she returned to the UK. Touring the USA was not without its excitement or danger: Henderson was attacked in 1869 by the theatre critic of the Spirit of the Times, a Mr. Butler, and, Lynda Thompson and another member, Pauline Markham, horse-whipped the editor of the Chicago Times in the street after a series of personal attacks (described by a rival paper as "the worst names allowed in print") appeared in the paper. Thompson and Henderson were fined $200 after pleading guilty to the assault.

From Illustrated Police News, 19 March 1870

After a brief break, she returned to the USA for a season of some 40 weeks in 1872-73 which resulted in a net profit of a little short of $100,000. Back in England, she was married to Henderson at St. James Parish Church, Westminster, on 28 July 1873. They travelled to America again, returning for good in 1874.

Henderson had been in charge of the Prince of Wales Theatre on Clayton Square, Liverpool, until September 1873 when the unexpired term of the lease was bought by J. H. Addison. He subsequently bought the Charing Cross Music Hall in 1876, which he renamed the Folly Theatre which he ran as a burlesque theatre—with Lydia Thompson appearing in many lead roles—until 1879. The two split up around this time and Henderson opened the Royal Comedy Theatre in 1881. [For more on Lydia Thompson, see her entry on Wikipedia.]

Henderson returned to the Prince of Wales Theatre, Liverpool, in 1884 and was also lessee of the Avenue Theatre up to the time of his death.

Trying to work out Henderson's marital status at any one time is like trying to nail a cloud to the sky. The Annals of the Liverpool Stage mentions that Henderson's first wife was a Miss Moon, who was connected with Liverpool. It seems he was married to Sarah Ellen Boughey, a London tea-broker's daughter, at St. James, Clerkenwell, on 15 January 1847. The couple had a daughter, Ellen Sarah Lancaster Henderson, born in St. Pancras in 2Q 1851.

After his return to the UK, Alexander would appear to have lived with his wife and daughter at the home of his father in law, as shown on the 1861 UK census. This despite the fact that, whilst in Australia, he had married a second time and fathered two children with Marie Nelson.

In 1866, Alexander Francis Vere Henderson was born in Stamford St., Middlesex. His mother was London-born Sophia A. Cutter, listed on the 1871 census as Sophia Henderson, living at Station Terrace, Lambeth with her son, her mother, Mary Garritt, and sisters Anne M. Saegert and her niece, Joney Saegert. Sophia and Aleander were living in Kensington in 1881. In both records, Sophia was listed as married, although I have found no trace of a marriage.

Then we have Helen Henderson, born in around 1868, whose mother, Rose Massey, subsequently moved to America where she died aged 32.

Helen Henderson was born around the time Alexander Henderson left for America with Lydia Thompson, whom he married in 1873. They had no children but continued to be involved with each other throughout the 1870s and, professionally, in the 1880s.

During a court case unrelated to Henderson in 1883, it was revealed that he had been involved with a girl named Elfrida Nunn (b. 1 July 1860, Leamingston Spa, Warwickshire) in 1877-78. At the time it would appear that Henderson was trying to obtain a divorce but that his liaison with Elfrida might interfere with the divorce proceedings between Elfrida's mother, Mrs. Emily Charlotte Nunn, and her husband, Edward W. Nunn. Emily Nunn was the sister of Francis Emily ("Fanny") Stewart, the wife of Edward Sothern, to whom Henderson had been secretary around 1850.

It emerged after Henderson's death in 1886 that he had also been involved with an actress named Hilda Dawes, who had been employed at the Royal Comedy Theatre. Dawes, formerly Hilda Creyke, had married Charles William E. Dawes in 1880 in Upton-upon-Severn, Worcestershire, and the couple were living at Edgbaston at the time of the 1881 census. I believe that they had a son, Henry Alexander, in 1882, who died in 1883, aged only 5 months.

Using the nom de theatre Hilda Rohan, Mrs. Dawes had separated from her husband and had subsequently co-habited with Henderson, resulting in the birth of Alexander Olaf Henderson. Differences arose and, on 2 April 1885, Henderson had signed a deed, granting an annuity to the former Mrs. Dawes until their son reached the age of 12, although the couple continued to live together. After Henderson's death that Mrs. Dawes put in a claim against the estate for £3,340, a claim countered in court where it was inferred that the deed was drawn up by Henderson simply to secure future cohabitation. This was refuted by the judge who ruled that the deed was not invalid.

Thus it would appear that Effie Henderson was quite probably illegitimate, as has been alleged. But this is not the only oddity: in the 1881 census, Effie Henderson (listed as aged 18 and with no occupation) was living with her aunt Marie Sadlier, the 37-year-old widow of an Army Officer, at 1 Hawthorn Place, Epsom, Surrey. This, to me, looks suspiciously like mother and daughter as Marie Nelson would have been around that age and both she and "Marie Sadlier" were born in London. The names of Effie's aunts, certainly on the Nelson side of the family, are known as they were quite famous in their time: Eliza, Caroline (Carry) and Sarah. The 1861 census would seem to confirm that Marie had come to England as there is a Marie Henderson, married but living alone at 43 Brook Road, Lambeth. She is possibly the Marie Sadleir (sic) whose death is registered at St. Marylebone in 2Q 1913, aged 79, which ties with her known age of 15 in 1851 and a birth around 1834.

In 1882, Effie Henderson married Abraham Cecil Francis Fothergill Rowlands in Epsom, Surrey. Rowlands, born 27 January 1856, the son of Dr. J. F. Rowlands, adopted the name Cecil Raleigh when he went on the stage in 1880, shortly after his father's death. He was a prolific playwrite, his plays including The Derby Winner and The Best of Luck, which were both filmed. His other plays included The Flood Tide, The Sins of Society, The Whip and Sealed Orders.

In the 1891 census, the married Effie Rowlands (aged 27, authoress) was a boarder at 30-31 Hill Street, Westminster, London. She divorced her husband in 1892; he remarried in 1894 in Marylebone and died on 10 November 1914. (Madame Albanesi was amongst the mourners at his funeral at Golders Green crematorium.)

In 1896 she married Carlo Maria Albanesi in Marylebone, London

Carlo Albanesi was born in Naples on 22 October 1858, and received his early training in Italy. In 1878 he went to Paris as a recitalist, settling in London four years later. In 1893, he was appointed professor of the pianoforte at the Royal Academy of Music, replacing the late Thomas Wingham. He won wide recognition as a pianist and teacher of outstanding quality and a successful composer. He was a Chevalier of the Crown of Italy.

Carlo and Effie, now styling herself E. Maria Albanesi, had two children:
  • Eva Olimpia Maria Albanesi (1897- ) m. (1) Marshall Lord Curtis-Brown in 1917, 3 children; (2) Austin Henry Williams in 1927, 1 child.
  • Margherita Cecilia Brigida Maria Albanesi (8 Oct 1899-9 Dec 1923)
In 1901 Effie was living in St. Marylebone, London, by now a highly popular authoress under two names: as both Effie Adelaide Rowlands and E. Maria Albanesi (sometimes Madame Albanesi) she continued to produce a string of romantic novels. 20th Century Romance and Historical Authors records: "Albanesi's style was marked by lavish use of the exclamation mark and the repetition of key words: 'Alone in the world! Alone! With only seventeen years behind her! She, poor little soul, was alone! Quite-quite alone!' ... Albanesi produced over 200 novels, all variations on true-love-with-complications, though none with any marked note of religious, political, or moral quest. There is more than a suggestion that the state of being in love brings in its wake not only mortal happiness but material good fortune too. If a girl's love is true, she will marry the right man, and continue to be rich and happy for the rest of her life."

For all their repetition of theme and character, they gave great pleasure to her readers, who liked the familiarity of her works and the inevitable happy endings following the tragedies and misunderstandings which kept the hero and heroine apart for most of the story.

Effie Albanesi's life was also interrupted by tragedies. Her younger daughter, Miss Meggie Albanesi, had become a great star of the stage but died in a nursing home in Broadstairs on 9 December 1923, aged 24. Less than three years later, Carlo Albanesi died on 21 September 1926, having been taken suddenly ill four days earlier. He was buried at St. Pancras Cemetery, Finchley.

Effie Maria Albanesi died on 16 October 1936 at her home at 20 Hallam Street, London W.1, aged 77. She was cremated at Golders Green on 19 October. Her death shortly before the Second World War almost guaranteed that interest in her work rapidly diminished, despite a 50-year writing career during which she penned countless serials for magazines and newspapers that were reprinted around the world.


Novels as Effie Rowlands
Like Unto a Star [with "A Summer's Amusement" by Rebecca Harding Davis]. New York, F. P. Lupton (Arm Chair Lib. 143), n.d.
Flower of Fate [with How Bridget Saved Us" by Mary A. Denison]. New York, F. P. Lupton (Arm Chair Lib. 155), n.d.
Margery Daw (by the author of "Like Unto a Star"). London, William Stevens, 1886; (published anonymously) New York, G. Munro, 1886; [with other stories], New York, F. P. Lupton (Chimney Corner ser. 156), n.d.
Unseen Fire [with "Warner Vance's Wife" by Helen Corwin Pierce and "At the Edge of the Box" by Forrestine C. Hooker]. New York, F. P. Lupton (Chimney Corner ser. 180), 1890?
Woman Against Woman. New York, F. P. Lupton (Chimney Corner ser. 190), 1890; New York, Street and Smith (Eagle Library 52), 1898.
"My Pretty Jane!". London, William Stevens, 1894; Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1894; [with other stories], New York, F. P. Lupton (Chimney Corner ser. 171), n.d.; as My Pretty Jane; or, The Belle of the Ball, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 872), 1914.
The Spell of Ursula. Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1894.
The Woman Who Came Between, illus. E. F. Sherie. London, Pearson, 1895; New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 401), 1904.
At a Great Cost. New York, R. Bonner's Sons, 1895.
A Conqueror of Fate. New York, R. Bonner's Sons, 1895.
For Love of Sigrid. New York, International News Co., 1895; as For Love of Sigrid; or, A Dream of Happiness, New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 478), n.d.
Little Kit. New York, R. Bonner, 1895.
A Faithful Traitor. London, William Stevens, 1896; Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1896; as A Faithful Traitor; or, In Spite of Appearances, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 996), 1917.
The Fault of One. London, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1897; Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1897; as The Fault of One; or, Redeemed by Faith Alone, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 857), n.d.
Love the Conqueror. New York, R. Bonner's Sons, 1897.
Carla; or, Married at Sight. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle Library 107), 1899.
The Kingdom of a Heart. London and New York, Routledge, 1899.
They Laugh That Win. London and New York, Routledge, 1899.
A Woman Scorned. New York, Street & Smith, 1899.
A King and a Coward. New York, Street & Smith, 1899; London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1912.
Little Lady Charles. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle Library 139), Oct 1899; London, Stanley Paul, 1910.
The Girl's Kingdom. © 1900; New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 1377), 1932.
The Heart of Hetta. Chicago, Laird and Lee, 1900; as The Heart of Hetta; or, The Waif of the Storm, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 1215), 1926.
Husband and Foe. New York, Street & Smith, 1900; London, Hutchinson, 1911.
Beneath a Spell. New York, Street & Smith, 1900; London, Stanley Paul, 1910.
A Charity Girl. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle Library 143), 1900; London, Stanley Paul, 1911.
A Kinsman's Sin. New York, Street & Smith, 1900; New York, Street & Smith (Love Story Lib. 65), 1928.
The Man She Loved. New York, Street & Smith, 1900; London, Ward Lock, 1911.
One Man's Evil. New York, Street & Smith, 1900; London, Newnes, 1910.
A Change of Heart; or, Love's Hidden Fount. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 290), 1900?.
Brave Barbara; or, Love's Sunny Pathway. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 417), 1901.
The Splendid Man; or, The Crown of Chance. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 424), 1901.
Love's Greatest Gift; or, The Snare of the Wicked. New York, Street and Smith (New Eagle ser. 1111), 1902; as The White in the Black (as Madame Albanesi), London, Collins, 1926.
Her Husband and Her Love; or, Faith's Golden Reward. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 431), 1902?
So Like a Man; or, The Honorable Peter's Fascination. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 438), 1902.
An Angel of Evil; or, Love's Fatal Dream. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 445), 1903.
A Wife's Triumph; or, Black Fortune. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 463), 1903.
The End Crowns All; or, True as Steel. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 485), 1903; London, Hutchinson, 1910.
For Ever True. New York, Street & Smith, 1904; London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.
A Woman Against Her. © 1904; New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 1382), 1932.
A Love Almost Lost. London, Henderson, 1905.
My Lady of Dreadwood; or, Her Heart's Longing. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 491), 1904?; as Her Heart's Longing; or, My Lady of Dreadwood, London, Skeffington & Son, 1918.
Andrew Leicester's Love; or, Held by Fate
, New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 498), 1904?; as Andrew Leicester's Love; or, At the Gates of Dawn, New York, Street & Smith (Love Story Lib. 92), n.d.
Selina's Love Story. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 505), 1904.
The Temptation of Mary Barr. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 514), 1904.
A Spurned Proposal; or, Under a Cloud. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 522), 1905.
The Wiles of a Siren; or, Mary's Great Mistake. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 530), 1906; as The Wiles of a Siren; or, Good and Bad, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 1199), 1925.
A Heart's Triumph; or, Love Made Manifest. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 539), 1906; London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1912; as A Heart's Triumph; or, Does Deceit Pay?, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 1166), 1924.
A Shadowed Happiness; or, From Gloom to Sunshine. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 471), 1902; London, Newnes, 1910; as A Shadowed Happiness; or, Love's Trial, New York, Street & Smith, 1922.
Pretty Penelope. London, Cassell, 1907.
Tempted by Love; or, A Spirited Girl. New York, Street & Smith (Eagle ser. 549), 1907.
Drusilla's Point of View. Leipzig, B. Tauchnitz, 1908; London, Hurst and Blackett, 1908.
Her Punishment. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1910.
The Man She Married. London, Stanley Paul, 1910.
After Many Days. London, Newnes, 1910.
Contrary Mary. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.
A Dangerous Woman. London, Ward Lock, 1910.
A Fateful Promise; or, The Man in the Moon. New York, Street and Smith (New Eagle ser. 666), 1910.
For Love of Speranza. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.
The Game of Life. London, Ward Lock, 1910.
Her Heart's Longing. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1910.
Her Kingdom. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 118?), 1910.
John Galbraith's Wife. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.
Love for Love. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.
A Loyal Man's Love. London, Newnes, 1910.
The Master of Lynch Towers. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1910.
The Mistress of the Farm. London, Newnes, 1910; as The Mistress of the Farm; or, The Magnificent Passion, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 864), 1913.
Bitter Sweet. London, Newnes, 1910.
A Splendid Destiny. London, Stanley Paul, 1910.
An Unhappy Bargain; or, Cissy's Redemption. New York, Street and Smith (New Eagle ser. 683), 1910.
One of Life's Roses; or, His Heart's Longing. New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 697), 1910.
On the Wings of Fate. New York, Street & Smith, n.d.; London, Newnes, 1916.
False and True. New York, Street & Smith, n.d.
For Love and Honor. New York, Street & Smith, n.d.
Interloper. Chicago, Donohue, n.d.
Love's Cruel Whim. New York, Street & Smith, n.d.
Siren's Heart. New York, Street & Smith, n.d.
With Heart So True. New York, Street & Smith, n.d.
Woman Scorned. New York, Street & Smith, n.d.
Barbara's Love Story. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1911.
Carlton's Wife. London, Ward Lock, 1911.
Dare and Do. London, Stanley Paul, 1911.
A Girl with a Heart. London, Ward Lock, 1911.
A Life's Love. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1911; as A Life's Love; or, The Joy That Faith Brings, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 850), 1913.
Leila Vane's Burden, illus. G. H. Evison. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 119?), 1911; New York, Street & Smith (Love Story Lib. 68), 1929.
Brave Heart. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 120?), 1911; as Brave Heart; or, The Sunshine of Her Life, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 798), 1912.
Love's Fire. London, Hutchinson, 1911.
Splendid Love, illus. E. F. Sherie. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 127?), 1911.
The Man at the Gate, illus. Ernest Smythe. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 130?), 1911.
A Wild Rose. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 134), 1911.
Her Mistake, illus. Harry Lane. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 142), 1911.
A Woman Worth Winning, illus. Paul Hardy. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 146), 1911.
The Power of Love, illus. E. F. Sherie. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 147), 1911.
For Ever and a Day, illus. G. H. Evison. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 149), 1911.
False Faith, illus. E. F. Sherie. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 152?), 1911.
Love's Harvest, illus. Louis Smythe. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 156), 1911.
The Madness of Love. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1911.
The One Woman. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1911.
The Triumph of Love. London, Pearson, 1911; as On a Sea of Sorrow; or, The Curse of Pride, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 840), 1913; as The Triumph of Love; or, On a Sea of Sorrow, New York, Street & Smith (Love Story Lib. 36), 1927.
White Abbey. London, Stanley Paul, 1911.
A Woman's Heart. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1911.
The Young Wife. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1911.
A Golden Dawn. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1912.
Hester Trefusis. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1912.
The House of Sunshine. London, Stanley Paul, 1912.
In Love's Land. London, Ward Lock, 1912.
A Love Match, illus. E. F. Sherie. London, Amalgamated Press (Daily Mail Sixpenny Novels 162), 1912.
The Love of His Life. London, Stanley Paul, 1912; abridged, London, Mellifont Press, 1939.
The Rose of Life. London, Ward Lock, 1912.
Temptation. London, Newnes, 1912.
To Love and to Cherish. London, Everett, 1912.
The Wooing of Rose. London, Stanley Paul, 1912.
His One Love. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1912.
Lavender's Love Story. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1912.
Love Wins. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1912.
A Modern Witch. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1912.
Beth Mason. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1913.
Elsie Brant's Romance. London, Cassell, 1913.
Hearts at War. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1913.
Her Golden Secret; or, Sweet is the Love that Lasts. New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 829), 1913.
A Hero for Love's Sake; or, Faint Heart ne'er won Fair Lady. New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 834), 1913.
The Joy of Life. London, Cassell, 1913.
Lady Patricia's Faith. London, Hodder, and Stoughton, 1913.
Love's Mask. London, Stanley Paul, 1913.
Margaret Dent. London, Cassell, 1913.
Ruth's Romance. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1913.
Stranger Than Truth. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1913.
The Surest Bond. London, Cassell, 1913.
Through Weal and Through Woe. London, Ward Lock, 1913.
In Daffodil Time. London, Pearson, 1913.
The Heart of a Woman. London, Pearson, 1913.
Judged by Fate. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1913.
On a Sea of Sorrow; or, The Curse of Pride. New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 840), 1913.
A Woman Bewitched; or, When All Else Fails. © 1913; New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 1319), 1929.
At Her Mercy. London, Pearson, 1914.
The Hand of Fate. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1914.
Her Husband. London, Chatto and Windus, 1914.
An Irish Lover. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1914.
Love's Young Dream. London, Ward Lock, 1914.
Light of His Heart; or, First Love is Best. New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 888), 1914.
Married Too Early; or, A Bitter Repentence. New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 903), 1914.
Money or Wife. London, Ward Lock, 1914.
On the High Road. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1914.
The Price Paid. London, Chatto and Windus, 1914.
Prudence Langford's Ordeal. London, Pearson, 1914.
Two Waifs. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1914.
Above All Things. London, Newnes, 1915.
Sunset and Dawn. London, Ward Lock, 1915.
The Woman's Fault. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1915.
The Girl Who Was Brave. London, Pearson, 1916.
The Splendid Friend. London, Hutchinson, 1917.
The Heart of Angela Brent. London, Pearson, 1917.
A Strange Love Story. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1919.
John Helsby's Wife. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1920.
Mary Dunbar's Love. London, Pearson, 1921.
Against the World. London, Pearson, 1923.
The Flame of Love. London, Ward Lock, 1923.
The Garland of Youth. London, Ward Lock, 1923.
Young Hearts. London, Ward Lock, 1924.
The Life Line. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1924.
Real Gold. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1924.
Out of a Clear Sky. London, Ward Lock, 1925.
The Way of Youth. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1925.
Brave Love. London, Ward Lock, 1926.
A Bunch of Blue Ribbons. London, Ward Lock, 1926.
Lady Feo's Daughter. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1926.
The Gates of Happiness. London, Ward Lock, 1927.
A Man from the West. London, Ward Lock, 1927.
Why Did She Shun Him?. New York, Street & Smith (Love Story Lib. 39), 1927.
Fine Feathers. London, Ward Lock, 1928.
Lights and Shadows. London, Ward Lock, 1928.
Spring in the Heart. London, Ward Lock, 1929.
While Faith Endures. London, Ward Lock, 1929.
Coulton's Wife. London, Ward Lock, 1930.
Dorinda's Lovers. London, Wright and Brown, 1930.
The Fighting Spirit. London, Ward Lock, 1930.
Sunlight Beyond. London, Ward Lock, 1930.
Wings of Chance. London, Ward Lock, 1931.
Princess Charming. London, Wright and Brown, 1931.
Green Valleys. London, Wright and Brown, 1932.
The Laughter of Life. London, Ward Lock, 1932; New York, Cupples and Leon, n.d.
A Loyal Defence. London, Ward Lock, 1932.
A Ministering Angel. London, Ward Lock, 1933.
Frances Fights for Herself. London, Ward Lock, 1934.
A School for Hearts. London, Ward Lock, 1934.
A World of Dreams. London, Ward Lock, 1935.
The One Who Paid. London, Ward Lock, 1935.
The Heart Line. London, Ward Lock, 1936.
The Lamp of Friendship. London, Ward Lock, 1936.
Her Father's Wish. London, Ward Lock, 1937.
The Top of the Tree. London, Ward Lock, 1937.

Novels as Madam Albanesi
The Blunder of an Innocent. London, Sands, 1899; as The Blunder of an Innocent; or, No one to Warn Her by Effie Adelaide Rowlands, New York, Street & Smith (New Eagle ser. 910), 1914.
Peter, A Parasite. London, Sands, 1901.
Love and Louisa. London, Sands, 1902; Philadelphia, Lippincott, 1902.
Susannah and One Elder. London, Methuen, 1903; as Susannah and One Other, Methuen, and New York, McClure, Phillips & Co., 1904.
Capricious Caroline. London, Methuen, 1904.
Marian Sax. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1905.
The Brown Eyes of Mary. London, Methuen, 1905.
Sweet William. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1906.
I Know a Maiden. London, Methuen, 1906.
A Little Brown Mouse. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1906.
A Young Man from the Country. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1906.
The Forbidden Road, illus. Charles Johnson Post. New York, Cupples and Leon, 1907.
Love-in-a-Mist. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1907.
The Strongest of All Things. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1907.
Simple Simon. London, Newnes, 1907.
Sister Anne. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1908.
The Rose of Yesterday. London, Hodder and Stoughton, 1908; New York, Street & Smith (Love Story Lib. 29), 1927.
Pretty Polly Pennington. London, Collins, 1908; as Sweet and Lovely, 1933.
The Laughter of Life. New York, Cupples and Leon, 1908.
The Invincible Amelia; or, The Polite Adventuress. London, Methuen, 1909.
A Question of Quality. London, Hurst and Blackett, 1909.
Envious Eliza. London, Nash, 1909.
The Marriage of Margaret. London, Pearson, 1909.
The Glad Heart. London, Methuen, 1910.
For Love of Anne Lambert. London, Pearson, 1910.
Maisie's Romance. London, Pearson, 1910.
A Wonder of Love. London, Stanley Paul, 1911.
Poppies in the Corn. London, Hutchinson, 1911.
Heart of His Heart. London, Stanley Paul, 1911.
Olivia Mary. London, Methuen, 1912.
The Beloved Enemy. London, Methuen, 1913.
One of the Crowd. London, Chapman and Hall, 1913.
Cissy. London, Collins, 1913.
The Cap of Youth. London, Hutchinson, 1914.
The Sunlit Hills. London, Hutchinson, 1914.
Hearts and Sweethearts. London, Hutchinson, 1916.
When Michael Came to Town. London, Hutchinson, 1917.
Truant Happiness. London, Ward Lock, 1918.
Diana Falls in Love. London, Ward Lock, 1919.
Tony's Wife. London, Holden and Hardingham, 1919; as Punch and Judy, London, Hardingham, 1919.
Patricia and Life. London, Ward Lock, 1920.
The House That Jane Built. London, Ward Lock, 1921.
Roseanne. London, Collins, 1922.
Truth in a Circle. London, Collins, 1922.
A Bird in a Storm. London, Collins, 1924.
Sally in Her Alley. London, Collins, 1925.
The Shadow Wife. London, Stanley Paul, 1925.
Sally Gets Married. London, Collins, 1927.
The Green Country. London, Ward Lock, 1927.
The Moon Through Glass. London, Collins, 1928.
Claire and Circumstances. London, Collins, 1928; as In Love with Claire, London, Collins, 1932.
Gold in the Dust. London, Ward Lock, 1929.
A Heart for Sale. London, Ward Lock, 1929.
The Clear Stream. London, Ward Lock, 1930.
Loyalty. London, Collins, 1930.
The Courage of Love. London, Ward Lock, 1930.
White Flame. London, Ward Lock, 1930.
Coloured Lights. London, Ward Lock, 1931.
All's Well with the World. London, Ward Lock, 1932.
The Moon of Romance. London, Ward Lock, 1932.
Snow in Summer. London, Ward Lock, 1932.
A Star in the Dark. London, Ward Lock, 1933.
White Branches. London, Ward Lock, 1933.
Through the Mist. London, Ward Lock, 1934.
The Half Open Door. London, Ward Lock, 1934.
An Unframed Portrait. London, Nicholson and Watson, 1935.
As a Man Loves. London, Ward Lock, 1936.
The Hidden Gift. London, Nicholson and Watson, 1936.
A Leaf Turned Down. London, Ward Lock, 1936.
The Little Lady. London, Ward Lock, 1937.
The Love That Lives. London, Mellifont Press, 1937.
The One Who Counted. London, Ward Lock, 1937.

Meggie Albanesi. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1928.

Sister Anne (produced Coronet, 1910)
Home Truths (produced Coronet, 1910)

Catalogue of an Exhibition of Works Illustrating the Roman Campagna of G. Aristide Sartorio, with a prefatory note by Madame Albanesi. London, Fine Art Society, 1908.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Tom Tex and Pinto part 1

(* This week's strip is a short run from "Tom Tex and Pinto", which ran in Swift, drawn by one of the finest Western comic strip artists to emerge in the UK, Harry Bishop. This was one of his earliest strips, dating from 1954, but it was only three years before he would be moving onto the strip that made his name, "Gun Law", first for Express Weekly and then for the Daily Express.)

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)

Comic Cuts - 26 February 2010

Mid-week I suddenly realised that Bear Alley was 1,500 posts old, which took me a little by surprise. Although the number of posts is listed on the Blogger dashboard, I've a bunch of posts that have been started but never completed and sometimes there are a string of others lined up, usually when I'm running a strip, which means the number shown isn't the actual number of posts that have been posted.

This is as good a chance as any to explain how Bear Alley is put together. When I started three-and-a-half years ago the idea was that I'd post occasional bits of research that I was doing—things that interested me or work that I was doing for others. Back in 2006 I was working for Look and Learn, so quite a lot of posts revolved around artists and writers who had contributed to the magazines and comics the company owned. Now I'm back to freelancing the articles tend to be about whoever interests me at any given moment, often sparked off by a query from someone about an author or artist. Often I can find almost nothing and it's useful to throw what little information there is onto the web to see if anyone can fill in the gaps—and I'm hugely grateful to everyone who has posted information either through the comments or privately. In quite a few cases, I've managed to resolve long-standing mysteries from a clue sent in, or a comment makes me want to revisit some old research and see if I can come up with something new. A good example of the latter happened yesterday when someone dropped me a line about Lunt Roberts. Way back in January 2007, I wrote a piece that gathered together everything I knew. Yesterday I was finally able to discover his date of birth and figured out the year in which he died.

If I'm dealing with a comic strip all day, I'll often dig around in my paperback collection for something interesting to post about; similarly, there's usually more posts about comics or illustrators if I'm working with books. Without that chance of subject, that change of pace, I'd just be at work in front of the computer all day and blogging wouldn't be much fun. I actually find it quite relaxing after a busy day.

Posts are usually written the day before you see them. So I started this post after watching Mock the Week on Thursday evening. Long posts can sometimes take me well past midnight, so when I talk about "today" on a Friday, it often is today, although it's highly likely it was "tomorrow" when I started writing. I time posts so they appear around five o'clock in the morning. There's no significance in this... when Blogger bought in the ability to schedule a post I picked the time at random and it stuck. I'm usually up by 7.30am so I quickly read through what I wrote the night before in the same way you do. Fortunately, I can make some quick changes if I spot a mistake or something doesn't make sense before the majority of people get to work—and I know for a fact that most people read this at work because the number of visitors drops quite a bit at weekends. Not a wholesale drop-off but a significant fall. If you're interested in statistics, Bear Alley gets around 700 unique visitors every day, a number which jumps slightly when someone posts a link to something I've written—usually a comics news site when I run an obituary. Today I've had four visitors from Japan arriving via Twitter. No idea who posted the link but domo arigato.

If I'm running a comic strip, I usually spend Sunday scanning and cleaning-up and line up a week's worth of strips. That means I have evenings free to catch up on e-mail or clean up some cover scans or do some research for the Science Fiction Encyclopedia or Crime Fiction Bibliography. Queries or research for those two volumes can prompt a longer piece, such as the recent columns on Charles Garvice and Marie Connor Leighton, which can take three or four evenings to compile. I'm posting a piece about Effie Adelaide Rowlands on Saturday and the bibliography alone took three evenings to put together. This is why I'm a lousy correspondent. If I can answer something off the top of my head, you might get a reasonably quick reply. If it involves any research, it'll be slower. It's an unfair system because easy new queries get answered more quickly than older more involved queries, but it's the only way I can keep my unanswered mails down to a manageable level (about 200 at the moment, although quite a few of them are from groups I'm a member of).

That's pretty much all there is to say on the subject. Sometimes it's a bit of a challenge to post something new every day, which is where the idea for running strips came in, but I try to post a couple of longer pieces or a cover gallery each week. I'm always happy to publish contributions from other people on a broad range of subjects. It could be anything from your favourite artist to a bit of ephemera you've picked up in your collecting travels. Every contribution from someone else saves 700 readers having to read self-indulgent columns from me writing about me.

Talking about me... I've spent all week stitching bits of artwork together (on the computer, not a sewing machine you understand) for the H. Rider Haggard book. "Allan Quatermain" and "King Solomon's Mines" are done and I'm just under half-way through "Montezuma's Daughter". Our column header is the opening page of "Alan Quatermain" by Mike Hubbard. Still a lot of work left: all the pages need to be cleaned up and two of the three need to be re-lettered. So I'll be banging on about this book for some while yet.

On Saturday I'm off to Crystal Palace to sign copies of the two new Book Palace Books publications which arrived today. Tomorrow really as it's still before midnight but today by the time you read this. If you pre-ordered copies of either Frank Bellamy's The Story of World War 1 or Frank Bellamy's Complete Swift Stories, copies should start shipping next week.

Monday and Tuesday I'll be posting the Recent Releases and Upcoming Releases columns and Wednesday should see a new strip starting. Looks like I've got a busy Sunday ahead of me.

Now get to work.

Tom Tex and Pinto part 2

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)

Tom Tex and Pinto part 3

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)

Tom Tex and Pinto part 4

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)

Tom Tex and Pinto part 5

(* Artwork © Look and Learn Ltd. Reprinted by permission.)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Post #1500

Just realised that Bear Alley is now 1,500 posts old! I don't have anything momentous lined up to celebrate so I'm posting the above artwork, from an original art board, by C. L. Doughty. It's the page I've just been working on. I think I might have a five minute break and a cup of coffee in celebration. Cheers!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

George Howe

George Locke Howe was born in Bristol, Rhode Island, on 19 April 1898, the son of Wallis Eastburne Howe and his wife Mary. He served with the U.S. Naval Reserve Force during the First World War, enlisting as a Hospital Apprentice in September 1917, stationed at Newport before travelling overseas to Queenstown, Ireland, in 1918. He also served in Liverpool, Brest and on the U.S.S. Plattsburg, Cape Finisterre, returning to the US in 1919 where he was discharged in May.

After continuing his education at Harvard, Howe followed in his father's footsteps and became an architect in Rhode Island. Wallis travelled to Europe and North Africa in the 1920s and his first novel, Slaves Cottage, was started in Egypt in 1923 and completed in Bristol, Rhode Island, in 1934.

George Locke Howe, circa 1924

During World War II, Howe served in Europe with the OSS unit, G-2, U.S. Seventh Army, in Algeria and France (1944-45), responsible for documentation and cover stories. He received the Medal of Freedom.

Call It Freedom, in which an anti-Nazi German prisoner-of-war volunteers to be dropped behind enemy lines as a spy for the American army, was based on actual events and Howe's experiences in Army Intelligence. It won the $15,000 Christophers Award, the annual award of a Roman Catholic literary organisation, in 1949 and was quickly picked up by Twentieth Century Fox, with Anatole Litvak attached to produce and direct as part of his multiple picture contract with Fox. The film was shot entirely in Germany under the title Legion of the Damned, although part-way through became Decision Before Dawn. The movie, starring Oskar Werner, stretched Fox's finances, costing $2 million, and faced numerous problems, not least of which was to find German uniforms and military equipment in demilitarised Germany.

Howe wrote a further two novels, as well as short stories and verse, but concentrated mostly on his career as an architect. He died on 19 June 1977 at the Veterans Administration Hospital, Salem, Virginia, aged 79. Married at the age of 29 to Elizabeth Wolcott Parker, he had four children.

Slaves Cottage. New York, Coward-McCann, 1935.
Call It Treason. New York, Viking Press, Aug 1949; London, Hart-Davis, 1950; as Decision Before Dawn, London, Brown Watson (Digit Books), 1958.
The Heart Alone. New York, G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1953.
Mount Hope. A New England chronicle. New York, Viking Press, 1959.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Marie Connor Leighton

Marie Connor Leighton, like Charles Garvice, is an author whose sensational novels made her a best-seller of the day but whose name is almost unknown nowadays. And, like Garvice, she has proven to be a difficult subject to research.

I think I probably first heard of her via Bill Lofts as she was the wife of Robert Leighton, a prolific writer for boys and editor of Young Folks at the time when Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island was accepted for serialisation; this was substantially true, although I believe Leighton, born in Ayr in 1858 or 1859 (depending on which source you believe), came to London in 1879 and was initially employed as an assistant editor on Young Folks. By 1881, when Stevenson's serial began, he was first assistant editor and did not become full editor until 1884.

Leighton shows up in the 1861 census living with his parents, Robert (1822-1869) and Elizabeth, in West Derby, Lancashire, aged 2, and in the 1871 census living with his mother in Everton, Lancashire. By 1881, he was in lodgings in Hampstead.

It was while he was working at Young Folks that he became acquainted with Marie Connor, a young authoress and actress who submitted poems to the magazine. According to the Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction the couple eloped to Scotland. Whether that's true or not, I don't know. What is certainly true is that they married in Marylebone, London, in 1889, his new wife's name given as Marie or Maria. It is certainly true that they lived for some time in Scotland after their marriage, living on "nothing at all up in that lonely Highland glen," living on a £50 loan from Alfred Harmsworth and writing Convict 99 .

What prompted this digging was a query about when Marie Connor Leighton was born and I have to admit that I'm still not certain. Most sources give her year of birth as 1869 and her place of birth as Clifton, Gloucestershire. Who's Who, although it gives no year of birth, reveals that she was the daughter of James Nenon Connor; this information also appears in her entry in The Author's and Writer's Who's Who, where her parents are given as Capt. James Nenon Connor, 87th Foot, and Elizabeth (Trelawney) Connor.

Who's Who lists her date of death on 28 January 1941 and a quick check in death records shows that her death certificate recorded her age at death as 75, which would mean she was born in 1865... or to be a little more precise, between 29 January 1865 and 28 January 1866. So 90% certain that she was born in 1865. Odds I'd normally take.

James Nenon A. Connor's death is registered in Mutford, Suffolk, in 1897, aged 62. Thus born around 1834/35. Two marriages are also registered for James Nenon Connor:

(1) Clifton Church, Clifton, Gloucestershire, 26 February 1857 to Eliza Jones, the daughter of James Allan Jones, a solicitor based in Bristol, and his wife, Charlotte Lucy, who had eight children. Eliza died in 2Q 1864.
(2) Kensington, London, 1869 to Elizabeth Ann Harris

James Nenon Connor was a soldier with the 87th (Royal Irish Fusiliers) Regiment of Foot, described as "an extravagant army officer of Irish family". I've been unable to discover anything about his army career but his life was briefly described by his granddaughter, Clare Leighton, in her book Tempestuous Petticoat, as "a dramatically alternating pattern of poverty and riches. Whenever a wealthy relative died and left them some money, my mother and her parents moved to Maidenhead, a romantic, fashionable little place up the Thames, which was notorious for illicit honeymoons. There Grandpapa indulged his extravagant taste for sailing and horses until the legacy had been used up, and so many debts contracted that it was necessary to flee. And then, in the intervals between deaths, the family retired to a miniature house in St. John's Wood, where my dandified, Thackery-like grandpapa washed the dishes and avoided contact with his creditors." She names her grandpapa as James Valentine Nenon Connor, although this would appear to be in error and reveals that his father had been Governor of Jamaica and had grown up in the West Indies, a fact I've been unable to confirm.

Grandpapa was an "impecunious aristocrat" and ran up enormous debts, a fact kept hidden from the world. "Grandpapa [would take] the Blue Atlas from outside the Eyre Arms public house in St. John's Wood, when he had been going into the "West-end," yet he would leave this omnibus about two blocks before he reached his club and, hailing a hansom, arrive before the doors in grand style, where he could have been observed tipping the cabby."

Grandmama would appear to have died the year before King Edward, who died in May 1910. Grandmama "was a Trelawny. She had a dark, Celtic beauty which, though striking, was yet less unusual than her daughter's, with the straw-coloured hair that my mother tossed around so wildly, like a lion's mane." Grandmama had a sister, Pollie, "who never seemed to have had any romance."

Pollie was the nickname often given to Mary, and here we have a clue to the identity of James Connor's second wife as Elizabeth A. Connor, a 52-year-old widow, who can be found living in Hampstead in the 1901 census with her 41-year-old sister, Mary A. Trelawney. Elizabeth was born in Helston, Cornwall, and Pollie in Camborne, Cornwall.

We can then work backwards to discover more about the family. In 1891 they were living at 2 Loudoun Road, Marylebone, the family listed as John Connor (44), a retired Army Captain, born on voyage to the West Indies, Elizabeth Connor (37) born in Redruth, Cornwall, Valentine Connor, 15, a scholar, and Mary Trelawney (26), born in Redruth, Cornwall. In 1881, at the same address, we find James Connor (38), now listed as formerly a Corporal in the Army, born in Brislington, Gloucestershire, his wife Elizabeth (35) and son Valentine (5). [[It is not unusual for places of birth to differ between census records. Nor ages!]]

In 1871, we find Jas. T. Conner (37) living with his wife Elizabeth (26) at Marlow Road, Maidenhead, with son Alexander (3 weeks old), born in Berkshire, and Elizabeth's sister, Mary Ann Trelawney (19). Alexander was registered as Valentine Nenon Connor in Cookham, Berkshire, in 2Q 1871. This was the second child to carry the name: Nenon Valentine Alexander Connor, born in 2Q 1869 in Brentford, Middlesex, died within a matter of months, buried in July 1869 at St. Mary's, Ealing. Sadly, Valentine Nenon Connor also died an infant. Thankfully, the third Valentine Nenon Connor, whose birth was registered in Marylebone, London, in 2Q 1875, survived. Registered as Valentine Alexander Connor, he was married in Hampstead in 1898 to Nora Blanch Guttenburg; subsequently, and now registered as Valentine Alexander Nenon Connor, he had a child with Florence Mary Steele, Nenon James Connor, born in York, Ontario, Canada, on 22 December 1908, who died whilst serving with the Canadian military on 1 January 1945.

The Jamaica connection established in the 1871 census confirms that James Nenon Connor was born around 1835. In 1851 he was 16 years old and living in Hackney with his mother, Marie Lambert (37), born in Canada, whose husband at the time was abroad. Siblings included Phebe (sic) Connor (18), born in Brislington, Gloucestershire, and Marie E. Lambert (1), born in Tottenham. By 1861, mother Marie (43), described as a land-owner's wife, was living with Marie E. (10), Lydney (8) and Alice J. Lambert (6) in Clevedon, Somerset. The latter two were born in Cork, Ireland.

Phoebe (as it is more correctly spelled) was the daughter of Captain Nenon Alexander Connor, formerly of H.M. 71st Regiment, granddaughter of the Edward Connor, Esq. of the War Office, Dublin Castle, and maternal granddaughter of the last Count Brunet-dit-Dauphinay. She was married on 24 June 1853 to John Trimmer, Assistant Commissary-General, at Monkstown, near Dublin.

Nenon Alexander Connor, also James Nenon Connor's father, was the Stipendiary Magistrate of the island of Jamaica. He died at Kingston, Jamaica, on 8 February 1836.

We're now building up quite a family tree... but still no sign of the one person we're looking for.

Marie Connor was born in early February, according to her daughter.

However, a search of births registered in Clifton for the surname Connor turns up only a handful of names for the years following the 1857 marriage of James Nenon Connor and only one that looks to be the likely birth of Maria Connor, namely Mary Ann Connor, born in 1862. Unfortunately, this turns out to be a red herring as Mary Ann Connor was baptized on 4 May of that year and records show her father to be Joseph Connor and her mother Mary Ann Vickery.

Then there's the British Library Catalogue, which lists Marie Connor's full name as Marie Flora Barbara Connor, afterwards Leighton. Where the middle names came from I have no idea. There's certainly no sign of middle names on either her marriage or death record.

So I'm stumped.

Marie Connor was educated at Marquise, in the Pas-de-Calais district of Northern France, and at Tunbridge Wells. Tempestuous Petticoat reveals that Marie told the story of how she had her first "love affair" with a window cleaner (married with eight children) at the age of 10; their passion discovered there was a terrible row: "The poor window cleaner was threatened with the law, and my parents sent me off to a convent in Northern France. They thought I'd be safe there, but actually I proceeded to fall in love at one and the same time with the Mother Superior and the priest, and ended up by becoming a devout Catholic." Something in her letters alerted her parents and she was brought back to England.

She had "short stays" at an unfashionable "finishing school" in Tunbridge Wells, but was taken out of school when funds were low and allowed to do as she pleased at home. "Her parents had no interest in her education. Although they liked her to associate with these diplomats' daughters, they sent her to school chiefly in order to keep her out of mischief, in the same way that she had been dispatched to a convent in France." The school, run by Miss Fanny Dothie, was called The Elms.

"Her Trelawny mother and her Irish father had little interest in her. Left to her own devices, she had devoted her time to writing. When she was only just able to form her letters she saved her pocket money for many weeks, and with this accumulated wealth bought a large supply of paper, pens and ink. Little Pattie, as her parents called her, was always a quiet child, and so nobody wondered what kept her satisfactorily occupied in her bedroom all the day long. But a few months later they discovered, for someone from a London publishing house came to visit her. It seems she was copying an entire novel by Mrs. Henry Wood, word for word, and sending it to the publisher as her own. The trick was found out, but the publisher was so puzzled by the childish handwriting that he took the trouble to come and see what sort of person had undertaken such an absurd labour...

"On her return from the French convent, she fell in love with Wilson Barrett, a well-known actor of those days, and he became the inspiration for her poems. She was also stage-struck. This caused many family tussles. Finally her parents decided that the only thing to cure her would be a short time on the stage, in order that she might see how glamourless it was. And so, when she was about fifteen, Wilson Barrett took her on tour. She was chaperoned and accompanied by her self-sacrificing Aunt Pollie..."

The tour cured her of her of any ambitions to take to the stage. "I found no romance anywhere--only hard work and the tiredness of everybody," her daughter quoted her as saying, although she remained in contact with Wilson Barrett, even during his trips to America. On her return home she informed her family that she had made up her mind to write books. She had her first novel published in 1884. The rest, as they say, is literary history.

The Leightons had three surviving children (their first child was accidentally smothered by a nurse in infancy):
  • Roland Aubrey Leighton, born 27 March 1895, who died in WWI. A comprehensive biographical sketch can be found here. He was the fiancĂ© of Vera Brittain and one of the subjects of her most famous book, Testament of Youth.
  • Clare Marie Veronica Leighton, born 12 April 1898, who became an artist and moved to America; she died in 1989. An interesting article about her family background by David Leighton can be found here.
  • Evelyn Ivor Robert Leighton, born 31 May 1901, who served with the Royal Navy and died in Bullingdon, Oxfordshire, in 1969
All three children were born at Vallombrosa, 40 Abbey Road, St. John's Wood, London. Summer's were spent at a house in Lowestoft; many years later they moved fully to Lowestoft to Heather Cliff, but financial problems led to another move to a rented cottage at Keymer, Massocks, Sussex. After the war they returned to St. John's Wood and then to The Garth, Crescent Road, Bishops Stortford, Herts.

Robert Leighton died on 11 May 1934, aged 75. Marie Connor Leighton died in hospital at Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, on 28 January 1941.

Of her birth I can still find no record. However, there is perhaps a vital clue in Clare Leighton's account of her mother, Tempestuous Petticoat, which mentions in passing that Aunt Pollie [Mary Trelawny] later moved to Canada to live with Marie Connor Leighton's half-brother in Toronto. Presumably this would be Valentine Alexander Nenon Connor, known to have moved to Canada.

The term "half-brother" implies that she was either born during James Nenon Connor's first marriage to Eliza Jones (1857-64), or was, perhaps the daughter of Elizabeth Ann Trelawny, who's marriage to James Nenon Connor was registered under the name Elizabeth Ann Harris. I've yet to find a marriage of a Trelawny to Harris and have no idea if this resulted in any children.

Update: 14 August 2010

A minor update: I've managed to track down some information on Marie Connor Leighton's mother. The clue—for which I have to thank Gerald Lambert, who is distantly related to Marie—came from the marriage certificate of James Connor and Elizabeth Ann Harris, which lists her as a 24-year-old widow. It also lists her father's name, William Treglown, and his occupation, civil engineer. Enough to establish that Elizabeth Ann Treglown was born in Cambourne, Cornwall, or possibly nearby Wendron, in 1841. She can be found living with her parents William and Mary Ann Treglown in both the 1851 census and 1861 (as Treglowan). In the latter, her younger sister, Mary, also appears, aged 10. Presumably, as there is still no sign of a certificate, Elizabeth Ann married someone called Harris between 1861-69 and, in that same period, had a daughter and was widowed—I'm still convinced that Marie Connor Leighton was born in February 1865, which means she was possibly born Maria Harris, or perhaps Mary Ann Harris, or something similar.

Beauty's Queen. London, F. V. White & Co., 3 vols., 1884.
A Morganatic Marriage. London, F. V. White & Co., 3 vols., 1885.
Two Black Pearls. London, F. V. White & Co., 3 vols., 1886.
Sweet Magdalen. London, F. V. White & Co., 3 vols., 1887.
Husband and Wife. London, F. V. White & Co., 3 vols., 1888.
The Triumph of Manhood. London, Chapman & Hall, 3 vols., 1889.
The Lady of Balmerino. London, Trischler & Co., 3 vols., 1891.
The Heart's Awakening. London, Chapman & Hall, 3 vols., 1893.
The Red-Painted Box. Being the narrative of a curious experience in the life of the Reverend Mark Bessemer. London, John Macqueen, 1897.
Convict 99. A true story of penal servitude, with Robert Leighton, illus. Stanley L. Wood. London, Grant Richards, 1898; New York, Brentano's, 1900; abridged, London, Mellifont Press, 1935.
The Harvest of Sin. London, James Bowden, 1898.
Michael Dred, Detective, with Robert Leighton. London, Grant Richards, 1899; New York, Arno Press, 1976; as Who Killed Lord Luxmore?, London, C. Arthur Pearson, 1929.
A Napoleon of the Press. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1900.
In the Shadow of Guilt, with Robert Leighton, illus. F. C. Luckhurst. London, Grant Richards, 1901.
In God's Good Time. London, Grant Richards, 1903.
The Amazing Verdict. London, Grant Richards, 1904.
Sealed Lips, illus. Harold Piffard. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1906.
Her Ladyship's Silence. London, Cassell & Co., 1907.
Put Yourself in Her Place. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1908.
"Money". London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1909.
Deep Waters. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1909.
An Eye for an Eye. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1909.
Convict 413L. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1910.
Joan Mar, Detective. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1910.
Justice! London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1910.
The Bride of Dutton Market. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1911.
Builders of Ships. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1911.
Greed. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1911.
Her Marriage Lines. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1912.
The Missing Miss Randolph. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1912.
The Triangle. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1912.
Black Silence. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1913.
Ducks and Drakes. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1913.
Her Convict Husband. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1913.
Geraldine WaltonWoman! London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1914.
The Silver Stair. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1914.
Under the Broad Arrow. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1914.
The Way of Sinners. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1914.
The Fires of Love. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1915.
The Gates of Sorrow. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1915.
Dark Peril. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1916.
Human Nature. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1916.
In the Grip of a Lie. London, John Long, 1916.
The Man Who Knew All. London, John Long, 1916.
A Marked Woman. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1916.
The Mystery of Three Fingers. London, John Long, 1916.
The Story of a Great Sin. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1916.
Every Man Has His Price. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1917.
The Shame of Silence. London, John Long, 1917.
Vengeance is Mine. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1917.
The Duchess Grace. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918.
Guilty or Innocent? London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918.
The Hand of the Unseen. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1918.
Hidden Hands. London, George Newnes, 1918.
Lucile Dare, Detective. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1919.
Red Gold. London, Ward, Lock & Co., 1919.
Convict 100. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1920.
The Girl of the Yellow Diamonds. London, C. Arthur Pearson, 1920.
The Opal Heart. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1920.
Her Fate and His. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1921.
The Silent Clue. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1921.
The Stolen Honeymoon. London, Odhams Press, 1921.
For Love or Money. London & Melbourne, Ward, Lock & Co., 1922.
Was She Worth It?. London, Aldine Publishing Co., (Mascot Novels 183), 1922.
The Torry Diamonds Mystery. London, C. Arthur Pearson, 1930.
The Woman Bars the Way. London, Gramol Publications (Adelphi Novels 27), 1933.
The Money Spider. London, Mellifont Press, 1936.
In the Plotter's Web. London, Mellifont Press, 1937.
The Silence of Dr. Duveen. London, Mellifont Press, 1937.

Non-fiction (published anonymously)
Boy of my Heart. London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1916.
The Baked Bread (by the author of 'Boy of my Heart'). London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1917.
Letters of an Expectant Grandmother (by the author of 'Boy of my Heart'). London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1918.

Verses of a V.A.D. by Vera M. Brittain, foreword by Marie Connor Leighton. London, Erskine Macdonald, 1918.

(* Quotes are taken from Tempestuous Petticoat. The story of an invincible Edwardian by Clare Leighton.)


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