Friday 31 December 2021

Blanche Elizabeth Wade (1872 - ?) American author and poet

With thanks to Philippe Clerbout who very kindly found this WW1 poem for us.


The poem, entitled “Bre(a)d to the Colors”, was written by Blanche Elizabeth Wade and published in the June/July, 1918 issue of "American Cookery" magazine. As far as I can ascertain, Blanche was the only daughter of American author, poet and pictorial photographer Elizabeth Flint Wade (1849–1915) - Flint being her maiden name - and her husband, Frank Abernathy Wade.  Blanche Elizabeth was born in 1872 and became the author of several popular books.

"American Cookery" was a monthly (except for July and August) journal published in New York, USA that began publishing under that title in 1914, succeeding "The Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics" and continuing its volume numbering. It ran until 1946.

If anyone knows more about Blanche Elizabeth Wade please get in touch.

Friday 10 December 2021

Emma Backhouse (1860 - 1946) - British poet

With thanks to Chris Dubbs for finding out when Tom went to America

and which of his brother accompanied him.

I am currently reading a very interesting book called “Reported Missing in the Great War: 100 years of searching for the truth” by John Broom (Pen & Sword Military, 2020). There, I discovered a female poet hitherto unknown to me - Emma Backhouse.  

Emma was born Emma Tate on 16th October 1860 in Shadwell, Yorkshire, UK. She married William Backhouse, a coal and clay miner, in Leeds in December 1881 and the couple had 8 children. Two of their sons - Tom - b. 1885 or 1886, and George Harry, b. circa 1890 - went to live in the United States of America and became naturalised citizens in 1913.  

Tom Backhouse joined the American forces in WW1 and was  killed in action while serving in the Argonne with the 325 Infantry, 82nd Division of the U.S. Army.  (pp. 36 – 38).   His body was repatriated to Britain because he served with the U.S. Army - which is why he was included in the book.  

I am trying to find out more about Emma and her family.  During WW1 Emma wrote poems “which she had printed on postcards and sold to passers-by in Leeds city centre.  The money she raised was used to fund three spinal chairs and a bed rest in Seacroft Hospital for convalescing soldiers  Her work “won widespread praise, including letters from Princess Mary, the Prince of Wales and Lord Kitchener”.  

Here is an extract from one of Emma's wartime poems:

from “Lest we Forget” written by Emma Backhouse in 1917 

This is no time for dreaming,

No time for idle scorn;

All should be up and doing,

To cheer some heart folorn

For while our lads are fighting

On land and sea to-day,

Our thoughts should all be centred,

On each one far away

Dear friends I often wonder

When you pass through City Square,

If you notice all the heroes

That are oft assembled there?

Have you watched our gallant heroes,

How they smile and murmur not?

Tis out duty now to help them,

They should never be forgot.

I am hoping to find further information and if possible a photograph. If anyone can help please get in touch.

With grateful thanks to Chris Dubbs for finding out which of Tom's brothers accompanied him to America., and confirming that he joined the American Army in WW1.  Shris Dubbs is the author of two books about American women journalists in WW1:

and "American Women Report World War 1".