Sunday, 30 March 2014

New to me - Violet Spender

I was very pleased to read in a Letter to the Editor in "The Times" on Saturday, 29th March 2014 of a poet called Violet Spender.  She is not on my list so I just had to try to find out more about her.

Violet was born Violet Hilda Schuster in England in 1890.  Violet’s father Ernest Joseph Schuster, came from a Jewish family who had converted to Christianity. Violet’s mother, Hilda Weber, was the daughter of Sir Herman Weber, a German Catholic whose mother was part Italian.   Herman came to England from Germany, became a renowned physician and friend of Prime Minister Gladstone and was knighted in 1899. He died on Armistice Day in 1918.   Herman married a Danish Lutheran and their daughter Hilda was Violet’s mother. Hilda was interested in art and literature and was committed to helping good causes.   In 1876, Hilda married Ernest Joseph Schuster, the son of a German-Jewish banker who had emigrated to England.

Violet was a very sensitive, artistic person and she suffered from ill health.  She was an accomplished poet and artist.   Her brother, Alfred, who was a Lieutenant in the 4th (Queen’s Own) Hussars, was killed during The First World War, which affected Violet deeply.  

Violet died after an operation in London on 4th December 1921 at the age of forty-four.  A collection of her poems was published in 1922 under the title “The Path to Caister and other poems” by Sidgwick and Jackson. 

LEEMING, David.- “Stephen Spender A Life in Modernisn”. (Henry Holt & Co. LLC, New York, 1999)

With thanks to "The Times" for publishing Annette Shelford's letter.

If anyone knows of other poets not yet on my list please get in touch - they all deserve to be heard.