Thursday 31 August 2017

Elizabeth Bibesco, Princess (1897 – 1945) – British writer, poet, playwright, actress, producer.

Elizabeth Charlotte Lucy Asquith was born on 26th February 1897 in London.  She was the first-born child of Herbert Henry Asquith, the British Liberal politician, and his second wife, Emma Alice Margaret, nee Tennant, who was known as Margot.  Elizabeth had a brother, Anthony (1902 – 1968), who became a film director.  Their half-siblings were Raymond (1878 – 1916), Herbert junior (1881 – 1947), Arthur, b. 1884, Helen Violet (1887 – 1969) and Cyril (1890 – 1954).  Herbert Asquith senior was the British Prime Minister from 1908 until 1916, when he became ill following the death during the Somme Offensive of his eldest son Raymond. 

Elizabeth inherited her parents’ interest in politics and even as a teenager established a reputation for being strong-willed and determined.   In 1909 she urged the playwright George Bernard Shaw to write a play for her to produce and have performed by child actors for charity.   This he did and “The Fascinating Foundling” was the result.

During the First World War when her Father was Prime Minister, Elizabeth continued her fund-raising work in aid of the wounded and organised concerts, recitals, poetry readings and plays.

In 1919, she married Roumanian Prince Antoine Bibesco who was a diplomat.   The couple lived in Paris and had a daughter, Priscilla, who was born in 1920.  Elizabeth continued to write and also travelled extensively with her husband, who was Roumania’s Ambassador to Washington, USA in 1920 and to Madrid, Spain in 1927.

Elizabeth was in Roumania during the Second World War and she died there on 7th April 1945.

Her poetry collection “Poems” was published in 1927.

Sunday 6 August 2017

Florence Ripley Mastin (1886 – 1968) – American poet, writer and teacher

Many thanks to Janet who contacted me recently with regard to women poets of the First World War.  Janet’s e-mail reminded me that I have not posted much recently about the poets on my list, so I decided to research one that Janet mentioned.

Florence Ripley Mastin was born in Wayne, Pennsylvania, USA on 18th March 1886.  She was educated at Tappen Zee College before going on to study at Barnard College, Columbia University.  Florence had one of her poems published when she was fourteen years old.

After graduation, Florence taught English and creative poetry at Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York.   She had her work published in many publications such as the New York Times, the Saturday Review, Poetry and the New York Herald-Tribune.

A collection of Florence’s poems entitled “Green Leaves” was published in 1918 by J.T. White.  Florence died in Rockland County in 1968.