Friday, 5 July 2019

Anna Gordon Keown (1899–1957) - British author and poet

With thanks to Connie Ruzich for reminding me that I had not yet researched
Anna Gordon Keown who is on the List

Anna Gordon Keown was born on 8th December 1899, the daughter of Robert Keown, a London wool merchant, and his wife Sarah, nee Gordon. Anna had the following siblings: : Robert, born in 1894 and Elizabeth, born in 1895.

Anna and her sister were educated initally at home by a Swiss governess and then at Cheltenham Ladies College and in Dresden, Germany. In 1921, Anna married William H. Seymour but the marriage did not last and in 1927 the couple divorced. 

In 1943, Anna married writer and physician Dr Philip Gosse (1879–1959), son of the poet Sir Edmund Gosse. When Anna died, Philip presented a large collection of literature to the University of Leeds in her memory. This is known as the Keown Collection and is contained within the Brotherton Collection.

“Reported Missing” by Anna Gordon Keown was written during the First World War

My thought shall never be that you are dead:
Who laughed so lately in this quiet place.
The dear and deep-eyed humour of that face
Held something ever-living, in Death's stead.
Scornful I hear the flat things they have said
And all their piteous platitudes of pain.
I laugh! I laugh! -- For you will come again -
This heart would never beat if you were dead.
The world's adrowse in twilight hushfulness,
There's purple lilac in your little room,
And somewhere out beyond the evening gloom
Small boys are culling summer watercress.
Of these familiar things I have no dread
Being so very sure you are not dead.

“War Verse” New York Crowell 1918 Ed. Frank Foxcroft and 7th Edition

The introduction to Anna Gordon Keown’s Collected Poems, published in 1953, was written by Siegfried Sassoon, whose family were close friends of the Gosse family.


Find my Past and Free BMD

Catherine W. Reilly, “English Poetry of the First World War: A Bibliography” (St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1978)  p. 187 “Collected Poems” by Anna Gordon Keown (Caravel, London, 1953) with an introduction by Siegfried Sassoon

Illustration:  Cover of one of Anna's books.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

Ena Limebeer (1897 – 1984) – writer, artist and poet - schoolgirl poet of WW1

Ena was featured in the Exhibition of Poetry Written by School Pupils during the First World War, held at The Wilfred Owen Story in Birkenhead, Wirral, in March 2018

Ena Victoria Limebeer was born on 17th June 1897 in St. Mary Islington, Middlesex, in the north of London, UK. Her parents were Alfred J. Limebeer, an electrical mechanician, and his wife, Annie Emilia, nee Jefford.  Ena had two siblings – Alfred John, b. 1891, and Effie, b. 1895.

Educated at the North London Collegiate School in Camden, a school exclusively for girls, founded in 1850 by Frances Mary Buss, Suffragette and pioneer of advanced girls' education, Ena went on to study art and become a writer and artist.

On 9th June 1923, Ena married political scientist, originally from Bucharest, David Mitrany (1888 - 1975). The couple went to live in Kingston Blount, near Oxford. In 1929, Ena and her husband moved to America, where David had a visiting professorship at Harvard University and lectured at Yale University. In 1933, he became a permanent member of the newly established Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton University. In September 1939, Ena and David returned to Britain.

After their return from America, Ena and David lived at The Lower Farm in Kingston Blount and also had a flat in London in Grove End Road, London NW 8. David Mitrany died in July 1975 and, following the death of her husband, Ena lived in Westminster, London.

Ena had poems and short stories published in magazines such as “New Age”, “The New Statesman”, “The Nation” and “The Athenaeum”, where Leonard Woolf was the literary editor. A collection of Ena’s poems was published by the Hogarth Press in July 1924: "To a Proud Phantom" - hand-printed and hand-bound by the Woolfs.

Ena also became famous for her watercolour paintings and exhibited them in the UK and at the Paris Salon during the 1960s. She painted all her life and after the publication of her last novel, focused entirely on painting. Ena signed her pictures in block letters: either EB or ENA LIMEBEER.  She died in the winter of 1984 in Westminster.

 “A Hero” by E. Limebeer, Form VI, North London Collegiate School

Was he dead? Had I heard it aright?
No, for there was his image imprinted in gold on my mind.
Does he live? The prince of men’s sight
No, for I wander ‘neath cypress, his flower-decked tomb to find.

Then ‘tis true? They told me, I know:
But I find not his tomb in the shadows down in the cypress glade.
And softly they answer and low,
“Only a rough wooden cross stands quiv’ring ‘neath Ardennes’ grey shade.

“Not as other men died,
Fighting with failing breath.
None were close at his side,
To sweeten the pangs of his death.

“Straight he stood and his eyes
Saw more than his slayers knew.
He watched his life sun rise,
His death star fade from view.

“They laugh at him who died
To keep his captain’s word,
And deeply in his side
In scorn they plunge their sword.

“And now beneath the shade
Of Ardennes’ leaves he lies.
Mourn not! All stars must fade
When Suns in glory rise.”

(First published in North London Collegiate School Magazine, 1915) and reproduced here by kind permission of Jenny Bartlett, Librarian, North London Collegiate School, to whom grateful thanks are due for her help in finding other poems written by pupils during WW1.

Ena also features in Volume 2 of Female Poets of the First World War -

“To a Proud Phantom”. Hogarth Press, London, 1924

Exhibition of Poetry Written by Schoolchildren during WW1,
WOS, March 2018

Here is a link to a news report about the opening of the exhibition of Poetry written by Schoolchildren during WW1 at the WOS on 17th March 2018:

Additional information from:

Self Portrait by Ena from

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Laurie Cruwys (1900 – 1983) – Wimbledon School WW1 Poet

The idea to research poetry written by schoolchilren during WW1 came to me after
reading "Peter Pan's XI" about J.M. Barrie's Recreational Cricket Team who played their last cricket match at Downe House School

Exhibition of Poetry Written by School Children during WW1

Born on 15th June 1900 in Clapham, Laurie was the only child of Lawrence Cruwys, a Metropolitain Police Court Usher, and his wife, Sarah Louise, nee Hicks.

Laura attended Wimbledon High School (then known as Wimbledon Hill School), which was one of the schools in the Girls’ Public Day School Trust.  The GPDST was set up in 1872 to offer reasonably priced secondary education to girls of all classes.  Laura was about twelve years old when she wrote this poem:

“Oh! Up and Fight!” by Laurie Crowys, Lower IV Class

Come lads, come boys, come men young and old,
Oh! Put down your axe,
And leave your plough,
Lay down your pen,
And take up the gun.
Oh! Up and fight for the dear Motherland
That has borne and bred and kept you.
Away to the War and conquer your foes,
For your home that is queen of the seas.
Oh! Up and fight for the dear Motherland
That is queen of the brave and the free.
And when ye have conquered your numerous foes
Come back to bonnie Old England,
And take up your axe,
And go back to your plough,
And do all that your duty bids you.

Laurie Cruwys

By kind permission of Kelly Jones, Archivist, Wimbledon High School

Sunday, 2 June 2019

Katharine Tynan (23 January 1859 – 2 April 1931) – Irish writer and poet

"Windy Corner in the Battle of Jutland",  Charles Edward Dixon
Remembering all those who lost their lives in the Battle of Jutland, a sea battle of the First World War that took place on 31st May – 1st June 1916, here is a poem by Katharine Tynan entitled “After Jutland” from George Herbert Clarke, Editor (1873–1953),  “A Treasury of War Poetry” (1917), p. 327

The City of God is late become a seaport town
For the clean and bronzed sailors walking up and down
And the bearded Commanders, the Captains so brave,
Bringing there the taste of the sea from the salt sea wave.

There are boys in the City's streets make holiday
And all around are playing-fields and the boys at play;
They dive in clear waters, climb many a high tree,
They look out as they used to do for a ship at sea.

The sailor keeps a clean soul on the seas untrod;
There is room in the great spaces for the Vision of God
Walking on the waters, bidding him not fear;
He has the very cleanest eyes a man can wear.

There's salt wind in Heaven and the salt sea-spray,
And the little midshipmen boys are shouting at their play,
There's a soft sound of waters lapping on the shore,
The sailor he is home from sea to go back no more.

Katharine Tynan (1859 – 1931) – Irish writer and poet

Katharine was born on 23rd January 1859 into a large farming family in Clondalkin, County Dublin, and educated at St. Catherine's, a convent school in Drogheda. Her first poetry was published in 1878. She met and became friendly with the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1886.

After her marriage in 1898 to writer and barrister Henry Albert Hinkson (1865–1919), Katharine  usually wrote using the name Katharine Tynan Hinkson.. Her daughter, Pamela m. Hinkson (1900–1982), also became a writer.

Katharine was a close associate of William Butler Yeats and corresponded with the poet Francis Ledwidge.

Katharine Tynan Hinkson died on 2nd April 1931 in Wimbledon, London.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

"Many such as She - Victorian AustralianWomen Poets of World War One" by Michael Sharkey

"Many such as She - Victorian Australian Women Poets of World War One" is much more than just another WW1 poetry anthology. 

Michael Sharkey goes into a great deal of detail about all the poets featured who were from the Australian State of Victoria.  In addition to biographical details and photographs, Michael has also included several poems by each of the women poets featured.

"Many such as She - Victorian AustralianWomen Poets of World War One", Editedf by Michael Sharkey - published by Walleah Press, Tasmania, Australia in 2018.

I will have to check my List of Female Poets to make sure they are all included.

Friday, 31 May 2019

Nellie Letitia McClung (1873 – 1951) – Canadian writer, poet, suffragette and politician

With grateful thanks to Liz Tobin for suggesting I research Nellie McClung and for sending me the link to Nellie’s book

Helen Letitia Mooney was born on 20th October 1873 in Chatsworth, Ontario, Canada, the youngest daughter of John Mooney, an Irish immigrant farmer and his Scottish-born wife, Letitia, nee McCurdy. Nellie’s siblings were Will, George, Elizabeth, Jack and Hannah.

Her father's farm failed and the family moved to Manitoba in 1880. She received six years of formal education and did not learn to read until she was nine years old.  Nellie later moved with her family to a homestead in the Souris Valley of Manitoba.

Between 1904 and 1915, Nellie McClung, her husband Robert McClung, a pharmacist, and their five children - four sons and a daughter - lived in Winnipeg, Manitoba where, from 1911 until 1915, McClung fought for women's suffrage.

In both the 1914 and 1915 Manitoba provincial elections, Nellie campaigned for the Liberal party on the issue of the vote for women. She helped organize the Women's Political Equality League. A public speaker known for her sense of humour, Nellie played a leading role in the successful Liberal campaign in 1914.  However, when Manitoba became the first Province in Canada to grant women the vote on 28 January 1916, Nellie was living in Edmonton, Alberta.

Nellie founded the Winnipeg Political Equality League and the Federated Women's Institutes of Canada and the Women's Institute of Edmonton, of which she was the first President. She was active in the Canadian Authors' Association, the Canadian Women's Press Club, the Methodist Church of Canada, the Calgary Women's Literary Club.

Nellie was active in many organizations. She was one of ‘The Famous Five’ (also called The Valiant Five), with Irene Parlby, Henrietta Muir Edwards, Emily Murphy and Louise McKinney. In 1927, the five put forward a petition to clarify the term "Persons" in Section 24 of the British North America Act 1867. This section had served to exclude women from political office. The petition was successful, clearing the way for women to enter politics in Canada.

Nellie died on 1st September 1951, but her legacy lives on.

Nellie wrote 16 books. Her first, “Sowing Seeds in Danny”, was published in 1908, and became the best seller of the year in Canada, eventually running into 17 editions.  Her other works include "The Second Chance,"
  "The Black Creek Stopping House," and "In Times like These"

Two of Nellie’s poems – from “The Next of Kin - Those who Wait and Wonder” by Nellie L. McClung, (Thomas Allen, Toronto, 1917), which is available as a download on Gutenberg: this …


  Sing a song of the Next of Kin,
    A weary, wishful, waiting rhyme,
  That has no tune and has no time,
    But just a way of wearing in!

  Sing a song of those who weep
    While slow the weary night hours go;
  Wondering if God willed it so,
    That human life should be so cheap!

  Sing a song of those who wait,
    Wondering what the post will bring;
  Saddened when he slights the gate,
    Trembling at his ring,--

  The day the British mail comes in
  Is a day of thrills for the Next of Kin.



  O Thou, who once Thine own Son gave
    To save the world from sin,
  Draw near in pity now we crave
    To all the Next of Kin.
  To Thee we make our humble prayer
  To save us from despair!

  Send sleep to all the hearts that wake;
    Send tears into the eyes that burn;
  Steady the trembling hands that shake;
    Comfort all hearts that mourn.
  But most of all, dear Lord, we pray
  For strength to see us through this day.

  As in the wilderness of old,
    When Thou Thy children safely led,
  They gathered, as we have been told,
    One day's supply of heavenly bread,
  And if they gathered more than that,
  At evening it was stale and flat,--

  So, Lord, may this our faith increase--
    To leave, untouched, to-morrow's load,
  To take of grace a one-day lease
    Upon life's winding road.
  Though round the bend we may not see,
  Still let us travel hopefully!

  Or, if our faith is still so small--
    Our hearts so void of heavenly grace,
  That we may still affrighted be
    In passing some dark place--
  Then in Thy mercy let us run
    Blindfolded in the race.

Source: Wikipedia

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Alice Gore-Jones (1887-1961) – Australian Poet

Alice was born in Toowong, near Brisbane, Australia on 29th May 1887. She was educated in Queensland and New South Wales and began writing and publishing poetry at an early age. 

Alice worked for many years as a journalist on the social pages of Brisbane newspapers, most notably the  “Telegraph”, now no longer published.

Alice died in 1961.

“Spring, 1916” by Alice Gore-Jones

The purple jacaranda bells are fluttering in the air;
The mango trees are budding, there is sunshine everywhere.
By silver creeks the willows droop their long green shining hair.
The peewee sends its piping call from tree-tops far and high;
A limpid stretch of azure is the pale unruffled sky;
While an ancient joy is stirring that will never never die.
Though the world be rocked with anguish till its outer portals ring,
You cannot rob existence of this strange and subtle thing,
When the sap in man and nature hears the hoyden call of Spring.
When the sap in man and nature feels a swift and sudden stir,
And the pipes of Spring are pulsing through the perfume-laden air,
Ah! the pity of youth's pageant that the young dead may not share.

From Alice Gore-Jones’ WW1 collection “Troop Trains”( Hassell, Adelaide, 1917).

“The Link” a Circular Letter published weekly during WW1, linking Queenslanders at Home and at the Front, had this to say about Alice’s collection in their issue Vol. I.— No. 15, September 27th 1917.


Some of you at home have already purchased
' Troop Trains" and other verses, by Alice
Gore-Jones, which came just too late for notice
last week. I hope lots of them will be posted
to you lads for Christmas, I would like to quote
some and started with 'that intention, but "The
Link" has to be small to go as a letter and
there are so many I'm sure you would like.