Mary Augusta Ward Bibliography Example

For other people named Mary Ward, see Mary Ward (disambiguation).

Mary Augusta Ward
BornMary Augusta Arnold
(1851-06-11)11 June 1851
Hobart, Tasmania, Australia
Died24 March 1920(1920-03-24) (aged 68)
London, England
Pen nameMrs. Humphry Ward
SpouseThomas Humphry Ward
ChildrenArnold Ward
RelativesTom Arnold (father)


Mary Augusta WardCBE (née Arnold; 11 June 1851 – 24 March 1920) was a British novelist who wrote under her married name as Mrs Humphry Ward.[1] She worked to improve education for the poor and she became the founding President of the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League.

Early life[edit]

Mary Augusta Arnold was born in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, into a prominent intellectual family of writers and educationalists.[2][3][4] Mary was the daughter of Tom Arnold, a professor of literature, and Julia Sorrell. Her uncle was the poet Matthew Arnold and her grandfather Thomas Arnold,[5] the famous headmaster of Rugby School.[6] Her sister Julia married Leonard Huxley, the son of Thomas Huxley, and their sons were Julian and Aldous Huxley.[7] The Arnolds and the Huxleys were an important influence on British intellectual life.

Mary's father Tom Arnold was appointed inspector of schools in Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) and commenced his role on 15 January 1850.[8] Tom Arnold was received into the Roman Catholic Church on 12 January 1856, which made him so unpopular in his job (and with his wife) that he resigned and left for England with his family in July 1856.[8] Mary Arnold had her fifth birthday the month before they left, and had no further connection with Tasmania. Tom Arnold was ratified as chair of English literature at the contemplated Catholic university, Dublin, [clarification needed][clarification needed] after some delay.

Mary spent much of her time with her grandmother. She was educated at various boarding schools (from ages 11 to 15, in Shifnal, Shropshire[9]) and at 16 returned to live with her parents at Oxford, where her father had a lecturership in history.[10] Her schooldays formed the basis for one of her later novels, Marcella (1894).[11][12]

On 6 April 1872, not yet 21 years old, Mary married Humphry Ward, a fellow and tutor of Brasenose College, and also a writer and editor. For the next nine years she continued to live at Oxford, at 17 Bradmore Road, where she is commemorated by a blue plaque.[13] She had by now made herself familiar with French, German, Italian, Latin and Greek. She was developing an interest in social and educational service and making tentative efforts at literature. She added Spanish to her languages, and in 1877 undertook the writing of a large number of the lives of early Spanish ecclesiastics for the Dictionary of Christian Biography edited by Dr William Smith and Dr. Henry Wace.[14] Her translation of Amiel's Journal appeared in 1885.[citation needed]


Mary Augusta Ward began her career writing articles for Macmillan's Magazine[14] while working on a book for children that was published in 1881 under the title Milly and Olly. This was followed in 1884 by a more ambitious, though slight, study of modern life, Miss Bretherton, the story of an actress.[14] Ward's novels contained strong religious subject matter relevant to Victorian values she herself practised. Her popularity spread beyond Great Britain to the United States. Her book Lady Rose's Daughter was the best-selling novel in the United States in 1903, as was The Marriage of William Ashe in 1905. Ward's most popular novel by far was the religious "novel with a purpose" Robert Elsmere,[15] which portrayed the emotional conflict between the young pastor Elsmere and his wife, whose over-narrow orthodoxy brings her religious faith and their mutual love to a terrible impasse; but it was the detailed discussion of the "higher criticism" of the day, and its influence on Christian belief, rather than its power as a piece of dramatic fiction, that gave the book its exceptional vogue.[16][17] It started, as no academic work could have done, a popular discussion on historic and essential Christianity.[14][18][19]

Ward helped establish an organisation for working and teaching among the poor. She also worked as an educator in the residential settlement movements she founded. Mary Ward's declared aim was "equalisation" in society, and she established educational settlements first at Marchmont Hall and later at Tavistock Place in Bloomsbury. This was originally called the Passmore Edwards Settlement, after its benefactor John Passmore Edwards, but after Ward's death it became the Mary Ward Settlement. It is now known as the Mary Ward Centre and continues as an adult education college; affiliated with it is the Mary Ward Legal Centre.

She was also a significant campaigner against women getting the vote.[20][21][22][23] In the summer of 1908 she was approached by George Nathaniel Curzon and William Cremer, who asked her to be the founding president of the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League. Ward took on the job, creating and editing the Anti-Suffrage Review. She published a large number of articles on the subject, while two of her novels, The Testing of Diana Mallory and Delia Blanchflower, were used as platforms to criticise the suffragettes.[24] In a 1909 article in The Times, Ward wrote that constitutional, legal, financial, military, and international problems were problems only men could solve. However, she came to promote the idea of women having a voice in local government[25] and other rights that the men's anti-suffrage movement would not tolerate. Julia Stephen who was Virginia Woolf's mother recommended Florence Nightingale, Octavia Hill and Ward as good role models for her daughters.[26]

During World War I, Ward was asked by former United States President Theodore Roosevelt to write a series of articles to explain to Americans what was happening in Britain. Her work involved visiting the trenches on the Western Front, and resulted in three books, England's Effort - Six Letters to an American Friend (1916), Towards the Goal (1917), and Fields of Victory (1919).[12]

Ward was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 1919 New Year Honours.[27]

Diarist (anonymous)[edit]

Throughout the 1880s Mary kept a personal diary of social and literary stories of the people she knew and met. She preferred to conduct her observations anonymously, and the diary was never published in her lifetime. Her reminiscences were heavily drawn upon by her friend Lucy B. Walford in a 1912 memoir[28]in which she is referred to simply as "Mary". Shortly after Mary's death in 1921 the diary was published, still anonymously, as Echoes of the 'eighties : leaves from the diary of a Victorian lady[29] The identification of Mrs Humphry Ward as the author of the diary was unknown until 2018 when an online article, about the diary's description of Oscar Wilde wearing a coat in the shape of a cello, cross-referenced her stories with corresponding information in the Walford memoir.[30]


Mary Augusta Ward died in London, England, and was interred at Aldbury in Hertfordshire, near her beloved country home Stocks.

Foundations, organisations and settlements[edit]

Associated activists in social change[edit]

Selected works[edit]

  • (1891). Address to Mark the Opening of University Hall.
  • (1894). Unitarians and the Future: Essex Hall Lecture.
  • (1898). New Forms of Christian Education: An Address to the University Hall Guild.
  • (1901). Manners for Girls.
  • (1906). The Play-time of the Poor.
  • (1907). William Thomas Arnold, Journalist and Historian (with C. E. Montague).
  • (1910). Letters to my Neighbor on the Present Election.
  • (1916). England's Effort, Six Letters to an American Friend.
  • (1917). Towards the Goal (with an Introduction by Theodore Roosevelt.)
  • (1918). A Writer's Recollections.[33]
  • (1919). Fields of Victory.
Selected articles
  • (1883). "French Souvenirs,"Macmillan's Magazine48, pp. 141–153.
  • (1883). "M. Renan's Autobiography,"Macmillan's Magazine48, pp. 213–223.
  • (1883). "Francis Garnier,"Macmillan's Magazine48, pp. 309–320.
  • (1883). "A Swiss Peasant Novelist,"Macmillan's Magazine48, pp. 453–464.
  • (1884). "The Literature of Introspection,"Part II, Macmillan's Magazine49, pp. 190–201, 268–278.
  • (1884). "A New Edition of Keats,"Macmillan's Magazine49, pp. 330–340.
  • (1884). "M. Renan's New Volume,"Macmillan's Magazine50, pp. 161–170.
  • (1884). "Recent Fiction in England and France,"Macmillan's Magazine50, pp. 250–260.
  • (1885). "Style and Miss Austen,"Macmillan's Magazine51, pp. 84–91.
  • (1885). "French Views on English Writers,"Macmillan's Magazine52, pp. 16–25.
  • (1885). "Marius the Epicurean,"Macmillan's Magazine52, pp. 132–139.
  • (1889). "The New Reformation: A Dialogue,"The Nineteenth Century25, pp. 454–480.
  • (1899). "The New Reformation II: A Conscience Clause for the Laity," The Nineteenth Century46, pp. 654–672.
  • (1908). "Some Suffragist Arguments,"Educational Review36, pp. 398–404.
  • (1908). "Why I Do Not Believe in Woman Suffrage," Ladies' Home Journal25, p. 15.
  • (1908). "Women's Anti-Suffrage Movement,"Nineteenth Century and After64, pp. 343–352.[34]
  • (1917). "Some Thoughts on Charlotte Brontë," In: Charlotte Brontë, 1816-1916: A Centenary Memorial. London: T. Fisher Unwin, pp. 11–38.
  • (1918). "Let Women Say! An Appeal to the House of Lords," The Nineteenth Century and After83, pp. 47–59.
  • (1879–1889). Personal diary. Published (1921) as Echoes of the 'eighties : leaves from the diary of a Victorian lady. London: Eveleigh Nash Co. Ltd.[35]
  • (1899). Joubert: A Selection from His Thoughts; with a Preface by Mrs. Humphry Ward.
  • (1899–1900). The Life and Work of the Sisters Brontë. 7 vols.; with an Introduction by Mrs. Humphry Ward.
  • (1901). The Case for the Factory Acts, Ed. by Beatrice Webb; with a Preface by Mrs. Humphry Ward.
  • (1908). The Forewarners: A Novel, by Giovanni Cena; with a Preface by Mrs. Humphry Ward.
  • (1911). "Lyly, John." In: Encyclopædia Britannica, (11th ed.), Vol. XVII, p. 159–161.
  • (1917). Six Women and the Invasion, by Gabrielle & Marguerite Yerta; with a Preface by Mrs. Humphry Ward.
  • (1920). Evening Play Centres for Children, by Janet Penrose Trevelyan; with a Preface by Mrs. Humphry Ward.
  • (1885). Amiel's Journal: The Journal Intime (2 vols.)
Collected works
  • (1909–12). The Writings of Mrs Humphry Ward. Houghton Mifflin (16 vols.)
  • (1911–12). The Writings of Mrs Humphry Ward. Westmoreland Edition (16 vols.)


  1. ^Gwynn, Stephen (1917). Mrs. Humphry Ward. New York: Henry Holt and Company.
  2. ^McGill, Anna Blanche (1901). "The Arnolds". The Book Buyer. 22 (5): 373–380. 
  3. ^McGill, Anna Blanche (1901). "Some Famous Literary Clans. IV. The Arnolds Concluded". The Book Buyer. 22 (6): 459–466. 
  4. ^Sutherland, John (1991). Mrs Humphry Ward: Eminent Victorian, Pre-eminent Edwardian. Oxford University Press.
  5. ^Stewart, Herbert L (1920). "Mrs. Humphry Ward". The University Magazine. XIX (2): 193–207. 
  6. ^Trevor, Meriol (1973). The Arnolds: Thomas Arnold and his Family. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons.
  7. ^Harris, Muriel (1920). "Mrs. Humphry Ward". The North American Review. 211 (775): 818. JSTOR 25120533. 
  8. ^ abHowell, P.A. (1966). "Arnold, Thomas (1823–1900)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 1. Canberra: Australian National University. Retrieved 1 March 2010. 
  9. ^Dickins, Gordon (1987). An Illustrated Literary Guide to Shropshire. Shropshire Libraries. pp. 74, 109. ISBN 0-903802-37-6. 
  10. ^Jones, Enid Huws (1973). Mrs Humphry Ward. London: Heinemann.
  11. ^Johnson, Lionel Pigot (1921). "Mrs. Humphry Ward: Marcella," in Reviews & Critical Papers. London: Elkin Mathews.
  12. ^ abDickins, Gordon (1987). An Illustrated Literary Guide to Shropshire. p. 74. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ abcd "Ward, Mary Augusta". Encyclopædia Britannica. 28 (11th ed.). 1911. pp. 320–321. 
  15. ^Peterson, William S. (1976). Victorian Heretic: Mrs Humphry Ward's Robert Elsmere. Leicester University Press.
  16. ^Phelps, William Lyon (1910). "Mrs. Humphry Ward." In: Essays on Modern Novelists. New York: The Macmillan Company.
  17. ^Maison, Margaret M. (1961). "The Tragedy of Unbelief," in The Victorian Vision. New York: Sheed & Ward.
  18. ^Mallock, M.M. (1913). "Newer Gospel". The American Catholic Quarterly Review. 38 (149): 1–16. 
  19. ^Lightman, Bernand (1990). "Robert Elsmere and the Agnostic Crises of Faith." In: Victorian Faith in Crisis: Essays on Continuity and Change in Nineteenth-century Religious Belief. Stanford University Press.
  20. ^"An Appeal against Female Suffrage,"The Nineteenth Century25, 1889, 781–788.
  21. ^Fawcett, Millicent Garrett (1912). "The Anti-suffragists," in Women's Suffrage. London: T.C. & E.C. Jack, pp. 44-57.
  22. ^Thesing, William B (1984). "Mrs. Humphry Ward's Anti-Suffrage Campaign: From Polemics to Art". Turn-of-the-Century Woman. 1 (1): 22–35. 
  23. ^Joannou, Maroula (2005). "Mary Augusta Ward (Mrs Humphry) and the opposition to women's suffrage". Women's History Review. 14 (3-4): 561–580. doi:10.1080/09612020500200439. 
  24. ^Argyle, Gisela (2003). "Mrs. Humphry Ward's Fictional Experiments in the Woman Question," Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 43, No. 4, The Nineteenth Century, pp. 939-957.
  25. ^Fawcett, Millicent Garrett (1920). The Women's Victory - and After: Personal Reminiscences, 1911-1918. London: Sidgwick & Jackson, Ltd., p. 42.
  26. ^Jane Garnett, ‘Stephen , Julia Prinsep (1846–1895)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 accessed 6 May 2017
  27. ^"No. 31114". The London Gazette (Supplement). 8 January 1919. p. 451. 
  28. ^Walford, Lucy Bethia (1912). Memories of Victorian London. London: E. Arnold.
  29. ^A Victorian Lady (1921). Echoes of the 'eighties : leaves from the diary of a Victorian lady. London: Eveleigh Nash Co. Ltd.
  30. ^Cooper, John. Oscar Wilde In America :: Blog; accessed 16/01/2018 22:00
  31. ^"WARD, Mrs. Humphry (Mary Augusta)". Who's Who. Vol. 59. 1907. p. 1835. 
  32. ^Whitaker, Joseph (1906). "Agatha". Almanack, 1906. London. p. 390. 
  33. ^More, Paul Elmer (1921). "Oxford, Women, and God." In: Shelburne Essays, 11th series. Ed. More. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, pp. 257–287.
  34. ^Gore-Booth, Eva (1908). "Women and the Suffrage: A Reply to Lady Lovat and Mrs. Humphry Ward". The Nineteenth Century and After. 64: 495–506. 
  35. ^


Further reading[edit]

  • Adcock, A. St. John (1903). "Mrs Humphry Ward". The Bookman. 24: 199–204. 
  • Beetz, Kirk H (1990). "Review of Mrs. Humphry Ward (1851-1920) A Bibliography". Victorian Periodicals Review. 23 (2): 73–76. 
  • Bellringer, Alan W (1985). "Mrs Humphry Ward's Autobiographical Tactics: A Writer's Recollections". Prose Studies. 8 (3): 40–50. doi:10.1080/01440358508586253. 
  • Bennett, Arnold (1917). "Mrs Humphry Ward's Heroines." In: Books and Persons. New York: George H. Doran, pp. 47–52.
  • Bensick, Carol M. (1999). "'Partly Sympathy and Partly Rebellion': Mary Ward, the Scarlet Letter, and Hawthorne." In: Hawthorne and Women: Engendering and Expanding the Hawthorne Tradition. Ed. John L. Ido, Jr. and Melinda M. Ponder. Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts Press, pp. 159–167.
  • Bergonzi, Bernard (2001). "Aldous Huxley and Aunt Mary." In: Aldous Huxley: Between East and West. Ed. C. C. Barfoot. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Rodopi, pp. 9–17.
  • Bindslev, Anne M. (1985). Mrs. Humphry Ward: A Study in Late-Victorian Feminine Consciousness and Creative Expression. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksell International.
  • Boughton, Gillian E. (2005). "Dr. Arnold’s Granddaughter: Mary Augusta Ward.” In: The Child Writer from Austen to Woolf. Ed. Christine Alexander and Juliet McMaster. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 237–53.
  • Bush, Julia (2005). "'Special Strengths for Their Own Special Duties': Women, Higher Education and Gender Conservatism in Late Victorian Britain". History of Education. 34 (4): 387–405. doi:10.1080/00467600500129583. 
  • Collister, Peter (1980). "Mrs Humphry Ward, Vernon Lee, and Henry James," The Review of English Studies, New Series, Vol. 31, No. 123, pp. 315–321.
  • Courtney, W.L. (1904). "Mrs Humphry Ward." In: The Feminine Note in Fiction. London: Chapman & Hall, pp. 3–41.
  • Cross, Wilbur L. (1899). "Philosophical Realism: Mrs. Humphry Ward and Thomas Hardy." In: The Development of the English Novel. New York: The Macmillan Company, pp. 268–280.
  • Fawkes, Alfred (1913). "The Ideas of Mrs. Humphry Ward." In: Studies in Modernism. London: Smith, Elder & Co., pp. 447–468.
  • Gardiner, A.G. (1914). "Mrs. Humphry Ward." In: Pillars Of Society. London: James Nisbett & Co., Limited.
  • Hamel, F. (1903). "The Scenes of Mrs. Humphry Ward's Novels,"The Bookman, pp. 144–152.
  • James, Henry (1893). "Mrs. Humphry Ward." In: Essays in London and Elsewhere. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers.
  • Lederer, Clara (1951). "Mary Arnold Ward and the Victorian Ideal". Nineteenth-Century Fiction. 6 (3): 201–208. doi:10.2307/3044175. 
  • Lovett, Robert M (1919). "Mary in Wonderland". The Dial. 66: 463–465. 
  • Mabie, Hamilton W (1903). "The Work of Mrs. Humphry Ward". The North American Review. 176 (557): 481–489. JSTOR 25119382. 
  • MacFall, Haldane (1904). "Literary Portraits: Mrs. Humphry Ward". The Canadian Magazine. 23: 497–499. 
  • Murry, John Middleton (1918). "The Victorian Solitude". The Living Age. 299: 680–682. 
  • Norton-Smith, J (1968). "An Introduction to Mrs. Humphry Ward, Novelist". Essays in Criticism. 18: 420–428. doi:10.1093/eic/xviii.4.420. 
  • Olcott, Charles S. (1914). "The Country of Mrs. Humphry Ward." In: The Lure of the Camera. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company.
  • Phillips, Roland (1903). "Mrs. Humphry Ward". The Lamp. 26: 17–20. 
  • Smith, Esther Marian Greenwell (1980). Mrs. Humphry Ward. Boston: Twayne Publishers.
  • Sutherland, John (1988). "A Girl in the Bodleian: Mary Ward's Room of Her Own," Browning Institute Studies, Vol. 16, Victorian Learning, pp. 169–179.
  • Sutton-Ramspeck, Beth (1990). "The Personal Is Poetical: Feminist Criticism and Mary Ward's Readings of the Brontës". Victorian Studies. 34 (1): 55–75. 
  • Trevelyan, Janet Penrose (1923). The Life of Mrs. Humphry Ward. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company.
  • Walters, J. Stuart (1912). Mrs. Humphry Ward: Her Work and Influence. London: K. Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co., Ltd.

External links[edit]

Huxley and Arnold family tree
Cover of Milly and Olly, illustrated by Ruth M. Hallock (1914)

Mary Humphry Ward

Mary Augusta Arnold, the grand-daughter of Dr. Thomas Arnold, was born in Hobart, Tasmania in 1851. The daughter of Tom Arnold, a professor of literature, two of her uncles were Matthew Arnold and William Forster. Mary returned to England with her family in 1856 and was brought up in Oxford.

Mary was a difficult child. Tom Arnold wrote that he had "a regular pitched battle with her about once a day... her domineering spirit makes even her kindness partake of oppression." Another person who knew her described her as "passionate and wilful" and that she was quick to lose her temper.

At the age of ten she was sent away to board at the Rock Terrace School for Young Ladies at Shifnal. In 1864 she moved to a school in Clifton. She later wrote: "I learnt nothing thoroughly or accurately, and the German, French and Latin, which I soon discovered after my marriage to be essential to the kind of literary work I wanted to do, had all had to be relearnt before they could be of any real use to me."

In 1871 Mary met Thomas Humphry Ward, a 25-year-old tutor and newly elected fellow at Brasenose College. Mary said yes when Thomas proposed marriage and the Reverend Charles Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), who had used Mary's younger sisters as child models, took their engagement photographs. They married in 1872.

Mary Humphry Ward later wrote: "It became plain very soon after our marriage that ours was to be a literary partnership... our three small children arrived in 1874, 1876 and 1879 and all the time I was reading, listening, talking and beginning to write in earnest - mostly for the Saturday Review. Mary spent her mornings in Bodleian Library and wrote for three hours every evening after the children went to bed.

In 1881 Thomas Humphry Ward was offered a job as leader writer for The Times. The couple moved to London and soon afterwards Mary had her first book,Millie and Olly (1881) published. Her second novel, Miss Bretherton appeared in 1884. These books sold badly but her next novel, Robert Elsmere (1888) was an instant success and sold over 500,000 copies within a year and over the next few years was translated into several different languages.

Books such as The History of David Grieve (1892), Marcella(1894),Sir George Tressaday (1896) and Helbeck of Bannisdale (1898) established Ward as one of Britain's most popular novelists. Her publisher's accounts reveal very high sales, with every new novel selling over 100,000 copies in the first six weeks after publication.

Many of Ward's books concerned the need to help the less fortunate in society. However, despite her sympathy for the poor, she was totally opposed to women's suffrage. In 1908 Mary Humphry Ward was approached by Lord Cromer and Lord Curzon and asked to become the first president of the Anti-Suffrage League. Mary agreed and on 8th July, 1908 the organisation published its manifesto. It included the following: "It is time that the women who are opposed to the concession of the parliamentary franchise to women should make themselves fully and widely heard. The matter is urgent. Unless those who hold that the success of the women's suffrage movement would bring disaster upon England are prepared to take immediate and effective action, judgement may go by default and our country drift towards a momentous revolution, both social and political, before it has realised the dangers involved."

Mary Humphry Ward argued the case against women's suffrage at debates at Newnham College and Girton College. Once a role model for educated young women, she received a hostile reception from the students when she told them that the "emancipating process has now reached the limits fixed by the physical constitution of women". She recorded in her diary after the Girton debate that "the fire and the rage were immense" and blamed the staff who she accused of being "hotly suffrage".

Some of the more progressive figures in literature attacked her old-fashioned views. Virginia Woolf claimed that reading her work was like"catching influenza" and Lytton Strachey described her as "that shapeless mass of meaningless flesh - all old and insignificant".

John Sutherland, the author of Mrs Humphry Ward: Eminent Victorian (1990), gives three reasons for her decision to oppose women's suffrage: "A horror of militancy, a fear that women might look ridiculous as political figures, and a tendency to be easily flattered by powerful men such as the ones who persuaded her to take part in this exercise."

The Anti-Suffrage League collected signatures against women having the vote and at a meeting on 26th March, 1909, Mary announced that over 250,000 people had signed the petition. The following June she reported that the movement had 15,000 paying members and 110 branches and the number who had signed the petition had reached 320,000.

Humphry Ward became editor of the journal, the Anti-Suffrage Review and as well as writing a large number of articles on the subject, several of her novels, notably, The Testing of Diana Mallory (1908) and Delia Blanchflower (1915) criticised women's suffrage campaigners.

Her son, Arnold Ward, the Conservative MP for Watford, played a significant role in the House of Commons in trying to prevent women getting the vote. Even during the First World War, when other leading campaigners such as Lord Cromer and Lord Curzon had withdrawn their objections, Ward continued to vote against giving women the franchise.

It was claimed that by 1914 Mary Humphry Ward was the best-known Englishwomen in America. Charles Masterman and Sir Gilbert Parker, of the government's War Propaganda Bureau, suggested that Mary Humphry Ward might like to write a book encouraging the American public to support Britain's war effort. She replied that she would if the government was able to compensate her for the financial "losses from the war and the pressure of war taxation". This was arranged and in March 1915, Mary became the first woman journalist to visit the Western Front. As a result of the tour of the front-line, Mary wrote two books, England's Effort (1916) and Towards the Goal (1917).

Mary Humphry Ward's autobiography, A Writer's Recollections, was published in 1918. Her final years were spent worrying about the debts of her son,Arnold Ward, who was a compulsive gambler. Mary Humphry Ward died on 26th March, 1920. In order to pay Ward's creditors, Thomas Humphry Ward had to sell-off the family home.

By John Simkin ( © September 1997 (updated June 2017).

Primary Sources

(1) Mary Humphrey Ward, Manifesto of the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League (July, 1908)

It is time that the women who are opposed to the concession of the parliamentary franchise to women should make themselves fully and widely heard. The matter is urgent. Unless those who hold that the success of the women's suffrage movement would bring disaster upon England are prepared to take immediate and effective action, judgement may go by default and our country drift towards a momentous revolution, both social and political, before it has realised the dangers involved.

(2) Mary Humphrey Ward, The Times (27th February, 1909)

Women's suffrage is a more dangerous leap in the dark than it was in the 1860s because of the vast growth of the Empire, the immense increase of England's imperial responsibilities, and therewith the increased complexity and risk of the problems which lie before our statesmen - constitutional, legal, financial, military, international problems - problems of men, only to be solved by the labour and special knowledge of men, and where the men who bear the burden ought to be left unhampered by the political inexperience of women.

(3) In her autobiography, A Writer's Recollections, Mary Humphrey Ward described her visit to the Western Front. Soon after arriving in France she heard about the death of her friend, Henry James.

All through that wonderful day, when we watched a German counter-attack in the Ypres salient from one of the hills south-east of Poperinghe, the ruined tower of Ypres rising from the mists of the horizon, the news was intermittently with me as a dull pain, breaking in upon the excitement and novelty of the great spectacle around us. I was looking over ground where every inch was consecrated to the dead sons of England, dead for her; but even though their ghostly voices came the voice of Henry James, who spiritually, had fought in their fight and suffered in their pain.

(4) The Spectator (5th November, 1910)

On Monday Mrs. Humphry Ward spoke at a meeting of the Croydon branch of the Women's National Anti-Suffrage League. While admitting that in the long run opposition to woman suffrage turned on the fundamental fact of maternity, she rested her own objections on two convictions : first, that the Parliamentary vote represented a fraction of the executive power and responsibility of the English democracy in political affairs, and not only the opinion of that democracy but the power behind that opinion ; secondly, that it was not patriotic for women to claim that executive power and responsibility. All the reforms that Mill said could not be got without the vote had been steadily obtained by the force of publics opinion ; and if many reforms were still wanted, never bad the opinion of women been so carefully and scrupulously consulted as it was to-day. In conclusion, Mrs. Humphry Ward gave the results of a recent postcard canvass of women householders in Southampton, Westminster, Central Finsbury, and Croydon, in which the anti-suffragist majority varied from nine to one to about three to one. We note that on the same day Miss Christabel Pankhnrst declared that if facilities were refused for the passage of the Conciliation Bill, it would be a challenge to women to do their worst.

(5) Mary Humphrey Ward's daughter, Dorothy Ward, recorded in her diary when she heard that the House of Lords had passed the bill for women's suffrage by 134 to 71.

We have been betrayed by our leader Lord Curzon. Coward! After making a long anti-suffrage speech, with every appearance of believing in the arguments against the Vote which he was advancing - he suddenly announced that in view of the gravity of the conflict with the Commons at this moment he was not going to vote and advised noble Lords not to vote.

(6) John Buchan, letter to Mary Humphrey Ward (December, 1918)

It would have been impossible to essay the great task of enlightening foreign countries as to the justice of the Allied cause and the magnitude of the British effort without the co-operation of our leading writers, and we have been most fortunate in receiving that co-operation in full and ungrudged measure.

(7) Fran Abrams, Freedom's Cause: Lives of the Suffragettes (2003)

Mary would soon find herself on the same side as Emmeline Pankhurst after the First World War broke out. As an author she was called on to make her own special contribution to the war effort - a book aimed at persuading Americans their nation should join the war. So while Emmeline made propaganda efforts to the east, in Russia, Mary set her literary cap westwards, towards the United States. The episode began with a call to arms from the former American President, Theodore Roosevelt, whom she had met in the US during a visit in 1908. He suggested she should write a series of articles in support of the British campaign to bring the Americans in. The British War Office approved and Mary was sent with Dorothy to view the allied efforts in France, where they even watched a battle through field-glasses. She described it as `a wonderful day ... I was looking over ground where every inch was consecrated to the dead sons of England. It was the high point of her war. The low point was fast approaching.

News had already reached the family in England that Arnold had got himself into trouble in Cairo, where he was stationed, by running up gambling debts. The amount was around £6,000, and Mary agreed to pay it in installments of £500 every six months. There were only two possible means of finding such a huge sum - sell Stocks, or hold on to it but sell off its contents to survive and pay the bills. Mary and Humphry, believing they would not live long, chose the latter option. Although Mary's wartime work, England's Effort, was a success she knew she could no longer rely on her novels to make her the kind of money she now needed to earn. It was a depressing end to a glorious career.

Mary still found the energy for one last fling, though, when the bill which would finally enfranchise women was put before Parliament. In many senses she was resigned to having lost the suffrabe war - she had written to Cromer as early as 1915 that she sometimes "wondered in my secret thoughts whether we are not already beaten."In fact the war had changed her views on the subject and she, like the suffragettes, felt the women's roles on the "Home Front" had changed them. A statement by the Anti-Suffrage League, which she signed, concluded that some people might rightly think "the experience gained during the war has introduced some new elements into the case which will require careful consideration".

But Mary and her colleagues were not going to give in without at least a semblance of a fight, so the Anti-Suffrage League issued a statement saying it would oppose the measure. In January 1918 Mary led a deputation to the House of Lords to point out the "injustice" of introducing women's suffrage without first holding a consultative referendum. But the tone at the league's final meeting in Central Buildings, Westminster, was one of resignation. Mary spoke, claiming the antis might have won the day if they had started actively campaigning sooner. But she also looked to the future with the hope that the war might have had a positive effect on those who would benefit from the vote: "More life - more opportunity - more leisure - more beauty! - for the masses of plain men and women, who have gone so bare in the past, and are now putting forth their just and ardent claim on the future". Lord Weardale, presiding, paid tribute to her energy and generosity, saying she had done "everything that even a woman could do in circumstances of this kind". To add insult to injury Lord Curzon, as leader of the Lords, was forced to pilot the bill through the House.

Subscribe to our Spartacus Newsletter and keep up to date with the latest articles.

0 thoughts on “Mary Augusta Ward Bibliography Example”


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *