Madeleine Collier hadn't really registered with me until I received an enquiry from someone asking for her dates. She has appeared in these columns only as the author of a couple of books illustrated by Ernest Aris and Jennetta Vise.
I'm in something of a tangle, so it would be interesting to know if anyone out there can help.
As usual, my starting place is a list of her work, which you'll find appended below, which showed that her writing career ranged from at least 1918-49. The only other clue is her entry in the Author's and Writer's Who's Who for 1935-36, which notes that she is Mrs. Holloway, was a contributor to Oxford University Press Annuals from 1919, Sussex County Magazine, Yorkshire Homes, the Morning Post, various Warnes' and Amalgamated Press annuals, Oojah Annual, and had several stories broadcast. Her address at the time was Medenham, Broad Oak, Rye, Sussex.
The 1948-49 edition notes only a couple of titles and a possible later address: Twahamwe, Broad Oak, Rye, Sussex.
The big clue here is "Mrs. Holloway" as there is only one traceable record for a marriage between Holloway and Collier, namely the 1928 marriage of Madeleine J. Collier and Hedley Henry Holloway. Holloway, born in Yetminster, Dorset, in 1887, had been previously married to a Mary Baker and had worked as a rancher in Canada before the Great War, returning in 1915 when his address was given as Mount Villa, Totton, Southampton. Confirmation that this is indeed the husband of our author comes from the phone book, which lists H. H. Holloway at Twahamwe, Broad Oak, Rye from the 1940s to the 1960s..
I have no firm information about what happened to Mary Holloway. Hedley was around 40/41 when he re-married in 1928, and one would presume his first wife would be around the same age. If she died, she died young.
Hedley Henry Holloway eventually died aged 78, his death registered in Battle, Sussex in 1966. He died on 17 June of that year. A Madeleine J. Holloway had died the previous year, in 1965, aged 68, her death registered in Hastings, Sussex. Given that her only known address was also in Sussex, this would seem a cut-and-dried case.
Which is where the curious bits start coming to the fore. Doing a search of newspapers to see if there was an obituary for either her or her husband, I stumbled across the announcement in 1947 of the engagement of John Holloway, only son of Mr. & Mrs. H. H. Holloway of Claremont Crescent, Croxley Green, to an Anne Weller, fourth daughter of Mr. & Mrs. J. A. Walker, of Glastonbury Watford.
The marriage record (registered in Watford in 1948) reveals that her name was actually Daphne B. Weller and he was John H. Holloway. But I can't confirm the birth of a John H. Holloway whose mother's maiden name was Collier. Or Baker, for that matter.
Madeleine Jessie Collier is listed in the 1911 census living in Kensington, London, age 13. This ties in with her suspected birth in 1897/98, and she was indeed registered as born in Bromley, Kent, in 1897. But I can find only one Madeleine J. Collier in birth records... so was she the Madeleine J. Collier who married Peter S. Cragg in Brighton in 1954... and perhaps also the Madeleine J. Cragg who married Peter Mouland in Brighton in 1959?
The above questions are window dressing. I guess the main question is, can anyone confirm that Madelaine Jessie Collier (1897-1965) is the author of the books listed below. Any help would be appreciated.
Update: 11 October 2010
Jamie Sturgeon has the answer to the first curiosity listed above: the marriage of Peter Holloway, the eldest son, is a red herring as he was the son of Hubert H. Holloway and his wife Evelyn (nee Crawley) who was born in 1925. So the Croxley Green address has nothing to do with Hedley H. Holloway or Madeleine Collier.
Books for Children
The Tale of Jack in the Box. London, Humphrey Milford [Mrs. Strang's Playbooks], 1921.
Nanny Goat, illus. Ernest Aris. London, Oxford University Press, 1926.
Tony Lambkin, illus. Ernest Aris. London, Oxford University Press, 1926.
Barney Brown, illus. Ernest Aris. London, Oxford University Press, 1926.
Tiny Tusks, illus. Ernest Aris. London, Oxford University Press, 1926.
The Lost Princess, illus. Ida Rentoul Outhwaite. London, A. & C. Black, 1937.
The Little Wooden Heads, and other stories, illus. Evelyn Simpson. London, Sir. I. Pitman & Sons, 1938.
Do You Know?: The Little Fact Book, illus. Newton Whittaker. London, Oxford University Press, 1943.
Beryls Wonderful Week, illus. Joan Gale-Thomas. London, George Newnes, 1944.
The Getabout Bird, illus. Jennetta Vise. London, George Newnes, 1944.
The Noddles, illus. Jennetta Vise. London, George Newnes, 1944.
The Noddles Again, illus. Jennetta Vise. London, George Newnes, 1944.
Roy the Lion, illus. Harry Woolley. London & Glasgow, Youthful Publications, 1947.
The Book of Delightful Nonsense, with Ernest Aris. Oxford, Pen-in-Hand, 1948.
Mrs. White Puss [and Catland by D. M. Percy Smith]. Lutterworth Press, n.d.
Bobby Bear's Annual, with others. Dean & Son, n.d. [various editions]
Fragments. Amersham, Morland, 1918 .