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Archive for the 'Women' Category

I have had for the first time the courage to say, “Monsieur, I am growing deaf” – Marie Bashkirtseff, Artist

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 16 November 2018

Maria Konstantinovna Bashkirtseva or Marie Bashkirtseff (1858-1884), was a Ukrainian Russian born artist and diarist.  She led a fascinating if brief life, and kept a regular diary from the age of twelve, where she put everything of herself, her hopes, fears, sorrows and joys.  Gladstone famously called it “a book without a parallell.”

The diaries were originally published by her family in an expurgated version in 1888, which was translated into English by the German born English poet, Mathilde Blind.  Marie describes her life, struggles to be accepted in art, and her illness, of which her hearing loss and deafness was a side effect.  More details of her life are to be found on the web (see links below) and her portrait paintings are very fine, well worth seeking out.  She attended the same Art School in Paris as the British Deaf art student George Annand Mackenzie did some years later, the Académie Julian.

Her experience of losing her hearing will, I believe, be recognized by many in a similar situation.  The follow entries date from 1880.  At first there is the mishearing –

Saturday, May 8th. — When people talk in a low voice I do not near. This morning when Tony asked me whether I had seen any of Pemgino’s work, I said “No,” without understanding.

And when I was told of it afterwards, I got out of it, but very badly, by saying that indeed I had not seen any of it, and that, on the whole, it was better to admit one’s ignorance. (p.406)

Then she has tinnitus, and has to endure the ignorant behaviour of others –

Thursday, May 13th. — I have such a singing in my ears that I am obliged to make great efforts in order that it may not be noticed.

Oh ! it is horrible. With S___ it is not so bad because I am sitting near him ; and besides, whenever I like, I can tell him that he bores me.  The G___s talk loud. At the studio they laugh and tell me that I have become deaf; I look pensive, and I laugh at myself: but it’s horrible. (p.407)

There are times when it improves –

Wednesday, July 21st. — I have commenced my treatment. You are fetched in a closed Sedan chair. A costume of white flannel — drawers and stockings in one — and a hood and cloak ! Then follow a bath, a douche, drinking the waters, and inhaling in succession. I accept everything. This is the last time that I mean to take care of myself, and I shouldn’t do it now but for the fear of becoming deaf. My deafness is much better — nearly gone. (p.416)

Then she is told how serious her condition is –

Friday, September 10th. — … Doctor Fauvel, who sounded me a week ago and found nothing the matter, has sounded me to-day and found that my bronchial tubes are attacked ; his look became . . .  grave, affected, and a little confused at not having foreseen the seriousness of the evil ; then followed some of the prescriptions for consumptive persons, cod-liver oil, painting with iodine, hot milk, flannel, &c. &c, and at last he advises going to see Dr. Sée or Dr. Potain, or else to bring them to his house for a consultation. You may imagine what my aunt’s face was like ! I am simply amused ! I have suspected something for a long time ; I have been coughing all the winter, and I cough and choke still.

Besides, the wonder would be if I had nothing the matter ; I should be satisfied to have something serious and be done with it

My aunt is dismayed, and I am triumphant Death does not frighten me; I should not dare to kill myself but I should like to be done with it . . . If you only knew ! . . . . I will not wear flannel nor stain myself with iodine; I am not anxious to get better. I shall have, without that, quite enough health and life for all I shall be able to do in it.

Friday, September 17th. — Yesterday I went again to the doctor to whom I went about my ears, and he admitted that he did not expect to see matters so serious, and that I should never hear so well as formerly. I felt as if struck dead. It is horrible! I am not deaf certainly, but I hear as one sees through a thin veil. For instance, I cannot hear the tick of my alarm-clock, and I may perhaps never hear it again without going close up to it. It is indeed a misfortune. Sometimes in conversation many things escape my hearing. . . . Well, let us thank heaven for not being blind or dumb as yet. (p.422-3)

This was two years before Robert Koch, the founder of modern microbiology, identified the causative agent of ‘consumption’ – Tuberculosis, as Mycobacterium tuberculosis.  It seems likely that the this was the cause of her deafness, but we cannot be sure.  In that year, 1882, she was confronted by the news that her hearing was gone and would not return –

Thursday, November 16th. — I have been to a great doctor — a hospital surgeon — incognito and quietly dressed, so that he might not deceive me.

Oh! he is not an amiable man. He has told me very simply I shall never be cured. But my condition may improve in a satisfactory manner, so that it will be a bearable deafness ; it is so already ; it will be more so according to all appearances. But if I do not rigorously follow the treatment he prescribes it will increase. He also directs me to a little doctor who will watch over me for two months, for he has not the time himself to see me twice a week as is necessary.

I have had for the first time the courage to say, “Monsieur, I am growing deaf.” Hitherto I have made use of, ” I do not hear well, my ears are stopped, &c.” This time I dared to say that dreadful thing, and the doctor answered me with the brutality of a surgeon.

I hope that the misfortunes announced by my dreams may be that But let us not busy ourselves in advance with the troubles which God holds in reserve for his humble servant. Just at present I am only half deaf.

However, he says that it will certainly get better. As long as I have my family to watch round me and to come to my assistance with the readiness of affection all goes well, yet …. but alone, in the midst of strangers !

And supposing I have a wicked or indelicate husband ! … If again it had been compensated by some great happiness with which I should have been crowned without deserving it ! But . . . why, then, is it said that God is good, that God is just ?

Why does God cause suffering? If it is He who has created the world, why has He created evil, suffering, and wickedness ?

So then I shall never be cured. It will be bearable ; but there will be a veil betwixt me and the rest of the world. The wind in the branches, the murmur of the water, the rain which falls on the windows . . . words uttered in a low tone … I shall hear nothing of all that ! With the K____ s I did not find myself at fault once ; nor at dinner either ; directly the conversation is just a little animated I have no reason to complain. But at the theatre I do not hear the actors completely ; and with models, in the deep silence, one does not speak loud . . . However . . . without doubt, it had been to a certain decree foreseen. I ought to have become accustomed to it during the last year … I am accustomed to it, but it is terrible all the same.

I am struck in what was the most necessary to me and the most precious. (p.565-6)

She died on October the 31st, 1884, and was buried in the Cimetiere de Passy in Paris, a few weeks before her twenty-sixth birthday.

It is certainly wrong to portray her by her illness alone.  She was a dynamic and interesting person, and the tragedy is she did not have the opportunity to show what she might have achieved.  I hope some of you will be interested to read her diaries and see her paintings.

Marie_Bashkirtseff1878Journal of Marie Bashkirtseff, Translated by Mathilde Blind, London 1890

https://www.britannica.com/biography/Marie-Bashkirtseff

http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13916/13916-h/13916-h.htm

Marie Bashkirtseff. Part 2 her later life and diaries

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marie_Bashkirtseff

Marie Bashkirtseff. Part 1 The portraitist and feminist

Gladstone, W. E. (1889). JOURNAL DE MARIE BASHKIRTSEFF. The Nineteenth Century: A Monthly Review, Mar.1877-Dec.1900, 26(152), 602-607. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/docview/2630378?accountid=14511

Her paintings:

https://www.wikiart.org/en/marie-bashkirtseff/all-works#!#filterName:all-paintings-chronologically,resultType:masonry

https://www.ecosia.org/images?q=marie+bashkirtseff

The following looks interesting but I have not seen the article:

VALLERY-RADOT P 1955 Nov 26;63(79):1659-60. Une curieuse malade (1860-1884); Marie Bashkirtseff peinte par elle-même d’après son journal. [A strange patient (1860-1884); Marie Bashkirtseff who, according to her diary, she portrayed herself]. [Article in French]

 

“Oh – Ted – this seems like a beautiful dream!” she enunciated. “Hope – and Cheer! A friendly Magazine of Interest For The Deaf, And Conducted By The Deaf”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 June 2018

In an untidily amateurishly stitched together collection of programmes and oddments for the Royal Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb in our collection*, there lies a curious mimeographed magazine, called – with the title in inverted commas – “Hope – and Cheer!”  It continues with the sub-heading, ‘A friendly Magazine of Interest For The Deaf, And Conducted By The Deaf.’  It was edited by Tom Kelsall and Alice Christina Burnett (1874-1961).  It assures us it was produced by Deaf people, so we must accept that Kelsall and Burnett were deaf, although Alice is not described as such in any census I could see.  As we have discussed before though, that could be for a number of reasons, for example because someone else (her husband or father) filled in the form, or because she did not think it was a disability, or perhaps she was not profoundly deaf.

Alice was born in Edinburgh, on the 19th of September, 1874, daughter of Alice Stuart and George Burnett, who was Lord Lyon King of Arms.  A living relative of his was also a Herald.  In 1881 they lived at 21 Walker Street, Edinburgh.  In 1902 she married Louis Holloway, and in 1911 they were living on a private income, in Oxford Villas, Ryde, on the Isle of Wight.

As an aside, it is very curious that Louis, born in Southampton, was living on his own means in 1901, with his father who was a bricklayer’s labourer.  Louis was 26 – how did he make his money, and how did he meet and woo Alice?

I have not been able to pin down Alice’s fellow editor, Tom Kelsall, who had been seriously ill, delaying this second edition of “Hope – and Cheer!” that came out in June-July, whatever year.  Logic suggests they were quite familiar with each other from some social situation, and had had ample time to discuss this magazine before starting it.  The content suggests it was a wartime production.  I do not suppose it lasted very long.  There is a rather maudlin tale written by Alice, called The lonely man and the lonely girl, that tells us how a Deaf girl starts a correspondence with a soldier, and it all ends happily –

He held out his arms to her.
And she went to them.
“Oh – Ted – this seems like a beautiful dream!” she enunciated.
He seemed so strong, so kind, so good to trust in!
“It is – the dream of my life, but it’s quite real,” he answered on his fingers – “Before my leave is over, then?”
She nodded shyly.

There is a paragraph, with ‘Our Monthly Problem – Whether you would rather be Deaf, of Blind.’  I recall having seen this sort of item before, even in old copies of British Deaf Times.

Cutliffe Hyne dwells upon the doom of deafness.  Sir Arthur Pearson declares deafness to be worse than blindness, and Sir Ferederick Milner agrees with him.  Mr. Wilson of the National Hostels for Deafened Soldiers and Sailors, on the contrary , say, “I would rather be deaf, dumb, and have two wooden legs, and only one arm, than be blind.”  What is your opinion? and why?  We award a prize of 3/- for the best letter, of within 200 words, on this subject.

Alice also offers handwriting analysis under the name ‘Grapho.’

“Hope – and Cheer!” contains some adverts. One from a widow, Mrs Margaret Chubb (1854-1950), formerly Jenkins, was offering rooms to rent in Penzance.  She was Deaf from Smallpox, aged 3 according to the 1911 census, when she was living at the same address with her son.  Her husband, who she married in 1888, was Richard Chubb (1852-?), a tailor from Devonshire.  Richard had also been ‘deaf and dumb’ and attended the Institution for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb at Walcot, Bath, where we find him in 1861, aged nine.

Finally, there is an advert from Samuel Driver of Leeds for ‘agents’ to run ‘Chocolate Clubs’ which I assume were along the lines of Christmas clubs.  If I have identified the correct Samuel, born in Keighley in 1888, he was not deaf – but his mechanic father Thomas Driver (1859-?) was, as was also their lodger, Eliza Dunn (b.ca.1868), who worked as a ‘Worsted Rover’.  Thomas, son of a mechanic Wilkinson Driver, was deaf from childhood and had already been identified as such aged two.

How did these people find out about “Hope – and Cheer!”?  How did Alice Holloway/Burnett and Tom Kelsall meet, and how did they distribute the magazine?  How long did it survive?  Are other copies in existence, or it this unique?  As with the previous post, we can see that exploring one trivial thing can open a world of forgotten connections.  There are plenty of further avenues to explore with this disparate collection of people.

Click images for a larger size.

If you can identify Kelsall please leave a comment.

*They were bound by L.Burroughs, ‘deaf and dumb’ in July, 1922.

UPDATE – [2/7/18] a relative by marriage of Alice adds this information – “In the 1939 Register Ref: RG101/2650C/005/18 Alice and Louis are living at 53 Argyll Street, Ryde, I.O.W. Her Birthdate is confirmed as 19 Sep 1874 and his given as 17? Feb 1880. Her occupation is given as “W V S Red Cross Hospital Supply Service” and his as “Private Means” Her Death was registered aged 86 Q1 1961 vol 6b page 1093 Isle of Wight His death registered Q3 1973 Isle of Wight. His Birth date given as 14 Feb 1880.”

Alice Burnett

1881 Scottish Census – Parish: St George; ED: 91; Page: 4; Line: 1; Roll: cssct1881_283

1901 Scottish Census – Parish: Edinburgh St George; ED: 1; Page: 9; Line: 21; Roll: CSSCT1901_363

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 5721; Schedule Number: 122

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Burnett

Margaret Chubb

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 1857; Folio: 74; Page: 11 – with Richard Chubb

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 14071; Schedule Number: 173

1939 Register; Reference: RG 101/6699A

Richard Chubb

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 1690; Folio: 53; Page: 5; GSU roll: 542851

Thomas Driver

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 3227; Folio: 45; Page: 37; GSU roll: 543099

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 4076; Folio: 174; Page: 28

Louis Holloway

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 1079; Folio: 7; Page: 5

Three Deaf Ladies of Liverpool, “respected and loved by all who know them”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 26 June 2018

In The British Deaf Times for January-February 1921 has this charming picture of three deaf ladies.  The paper of this issue, and some from late in the war, was acidic in quality, and has deteriorated seriously in the last few years as it has been well-thumbed by users.  This volume really needs restoration – that involves sandwiching those pages within some opaque material, but that makes pages less clear.  An ideal solution would be proper digitisation.

All three were “deaf and dumb, and have been from birth.”  The lady in the centre is Miss Mary.E.Walker (her initials were M.A.E. or perhaps M.E.A.).  She was born on January the 1st 1836 in Leeds.  The article tells us she was deaf from birth, but the censuses omit that information.  She was a ‘lady visitor to the deaf,’ by which we must suppose she worked with local missioners, visited Deaf people in her community, and presumably prayed with them.  I suppose it was a sort of community support worker role.  At any rate, she did that for thirty-five years, presumably able to support herself ‘by her own means’ as the census says, having a wealthy family background.

Margaret C. Hawkins on the left, was born in 1841.  She died in 1923.  She was also a ‘lady visitor,’ connected to the Liverpool Society.  In the 1881 census, where she is recorded as deaf and dumb, she was a teacher, living at a convalescent home for children at Black Moss Lane, Maghull, Lancashire.

On the right, Miss Mary Housman was born in Liverpool in January 1844.  By 1901 she was living with Margaret in 76 Rosebery Street, Toxteth.  Looking at it on Street-view now shows that it is long gone.  It would once have been neat back-to-back housing, and their neighbours in 1901 were in occupations such as clerks, chemists, a police sargeant, and a stevedore, whereas most of the housing left is run-down, and the remaining terrace of once pretty houses looks as if it is condemned.  Interestingly, the two ladies, both described as ‘deaf and dumb from childhood,’ had two other Deaf lodgers, Robert Fletcher Housman (1846-1921) who was her brother, and Anne (Annie) Jackson, b.1844.  The Housman family was from Skerton,Lancashire, their parents, Robert Fletcher and Agnes were ‘landed proprietors.’  Robert junior was described as deaf in the 1861 census but his sister as deaf and dumb.

Anne Jackson was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire.  She was a servant working for Housman and Hawkins in 1891, but by 1911 is described as living with them under her own means.  In 1891 they were in 24 Jermyn Street,  which is not too far from their later home in Rosebery Street.  Margaret Hawkins was described as a ‘lady Visitor’ which the enumerator has misunderstood as meaning she was not head of the household, and ‘Deaf and dumb from birth.’  The other members of the household are described as ‘Deaf and dumb.’  As well as Mary Housman as a boarder and the servant Annie Jackson, there was also an Eliza Jane Hudson, b.1852 in Carnarvon, as a boarder, and Mary Rigby, b.ca.1840 in Liverpool.
In 1871 Rigby was living with her widowed mother, in Slater Street.  She was ‘Deaf from Fever’ which explains why she was not marked as deaf on earlier censuses.

By 1911 the three were living together at 14 Hatherley Street, Liverpool, the next street down from Rosebery Street.  A certain P.H. Morris, b.ca. 1874, in St. Helen’s, ‘Deaf from born,’ is there as a boarder.  I tried looking for a female P.H. Morris to no avail, but there is a Philip Hornby Morris who was born in the right place and was the right age to fit.  As the age column has been altered – the usual 1911 census error where people did not read the form before filling it in – I wonder if our deaf P.H. Morris is him… I am open to correction!

In 1921 when the article was written, they lived together at Prenton, Birkenhead, all three being, we are told, ‘staunch churchwomen.’  The were, we are assured, “respected and loved by all who know them.”  They were part of a network of Deaf people, and we might assume there were other boarders and visitors from the Deaf community in the north west in the intervening years not covered by the censuses.  It would make an interesting project to follow the lives of all these peoplewith some sort of social network analysis.

An Appreciation.  The British Deaf Times 1921 p.8

Miss Walker

1841 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 1346; Book: 4; Civil Parish: Leeds; County: Yorkshire; Enumeration District: 4; Folio: 26; Page: 2; Line: 10; GSU roll: 464289

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 3357; Folio: 123; Page: 31; GSU roll: 543119 – Headingly with her sister Elizabeth

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 3463; Folio: 39; Page: 2 – Poulton Bare and Torrisholme, Lancs. as a visitor in a lodging house.

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 4914; Folio: 78; Page: 21

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 22266

Miss Housman

1851 Census – Class: HO107; Piece: 2272; Folio: 106; Page: 56; GSU roll: 87299

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 3156; Folio: 62; Page: 21; GSU roll: 543088

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 2936; Folio: 54; Page: 41

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 3438; Folio: 41; Page: 21

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 22266

Miss Hawkins

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 3744; Folio: 99; Page: 10; GSU roll: 1341896

1891 Census – Class: RG12; Piece: 2936; Folio: 54; Page: 41

1901 Census – Class: RG13; Piece: 3438; Folio: 41; Page: 21

1911 Census – Class: RG14; Piece: 22266

Miss Rigby

1871 Census – Class: RG10; Piece: 3775; Folio: 46; Page: 33; GSU roll: 841888

1881 Census – Class: RG11; Piece: 3651; Folio: 39; Page: 17; GSU roll: 1341875

Frances M. Parsons – Sound of the Stars

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 8 June 2018

Frances Margaret Parsons and Hester West Parsons were deaf twins from El Cajon, California. They were born in 1923 and it was not realized that they were deaf until they were five, or perhaps they lost their hearing aged five (see links at end).  The sisters were sent to the State School for the Deaf at Berkeley, but their father lost his job in the depression.  Their mother, Hester Tancre Parsons, missed her daughters who were boarding, and conceived a plan to move the family to Tahiti, which they did in 1935.

When she was fifteen, Frances began to keep a journal which was published in 1971 as Sound of the Stars.  The book covers the last two years on Tahiti, from the outbreak of war until their return to the U.S.A. in January 1941.  The book is full of strange and quirky characters, locals and colonials, and has line drawings in the text.

Back in California they finished their schooling, then Frances married in 1945 and then had two daughters.  She eventually completed a B.A. in Art History, which she then taught at Gallaudet.  Something went on there in the late 1980s between her and colleagues that meant she was “terminated from the position in 1988 and filed a grievance, followed by a civil suit.” (See here)

She travelled widely around the world, and describes in the preface of her book I Didn’t Hear the Dragon Roar (1988) how she was being mugged in Maputo when one of the muggers realized she was deaf he told her he had a deaf sister, and then he helped her up and returned her purse.

It seems that when she was asked to lecture in Argentina and other parts of the world, she realized that oralism was the dominant educational form and that inspired her to travel and encourage manual education (see here).  In her late 70s she had a cochlear implant, and this website says “Parsons never back down from her belief that fluency in English was the key to success in educating deaf children.”  Whatever had happened at Gallaudet in the 1980s was clearly forgiven enough for her to leave a large collection of papers to the college in her will.

She died when she was struck by a vehicle while walking her dog, in 2013, aged 90.

If you have a link to a proper obituary please comment below.

http://www.vad.org/Frances_Parsons_Lecture.html

http://videocatalog.gallaudet.edu/?video=13538

http://www.gallaudet.edu/archives-and-deaf-collections/collections/manuscripts/mss-207

Madras, India (by Frances Parsons)

A Deaf suffragist – Kate Harvey 1862-1946

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 16 March 2018

Born Felicia Catherine Glanvill, but also known as ‘Glanville’ and as ‘Kate,’ little is known about the youth of this deaf suffragist.  Her father’s familiy was from East Surrey, her grandfather being a ‘philosophical instrument maker.’  She was born in Peckham in 1862, and named after her mother, Felicia Catherine La Thangue, whose father was a mariner.  Her mother died when she was young, in 1870, and her father Frederick then died when she was about sixteen, in 1879.  Grandmother Felicia, her mother’s mother, was described as a Professor of Music on the 1871 census, and I wonder if she took over care of her three grand daughters.  At any rate I was unable to find the three sisters on the 1881 census, so all we can say about her is that she lost her hearing at some point after 1871, probably as a result of illness but after acquiring speech.  She was certainly not noted as ‘deaf’ on the 1901 census, but, as said on many occasions in these pages, that does not always reflect the reality of a person’s hearing loss.

At some point in her 20s, where and when I cannot say, she met met Frank Harvey, a cotton merchant, and they married in India at Cuddapah, Madras, on the 12th of November, 1890.  Perhaps the family have records, perhaps not, but there may be more to discover.  Her youngest sister Edith married first, in the Cambridge registration district in 1889, while Florence married a Joseph Hopley in 1900 , who was five years younger than her.  The reason I have looked at the family, is that sometimes it allows a glimpse of the reasons why people made choices, such as whether to marry or not.  Perhaps Kate, as we will now refer to her (perhaps she preferred to use her second name), felt forced into marriage, and the Women’s Suffrage movement helped her assert herself.

After her marriage Kate had three daughters (and it seems the third Rita had a male twin Rex, who died in 1906, but that needs confirmation), but then her husband Frank died in 1905.  Her marriage left her with money, a governess for her daughters, and four servants, in stark contrast with her sisters whose husbands were skilled manual workers.

Kate was involved in early meetings of the National Society for Women’s Suffrage (NSPU) (Woodford, p.7, quoting a thesis by Gillian Rutter).  After her husband’s death it seems she became  a physiotherapist, albeit untrained, and was heavily involved in voluntary work with East London poor (ibid p.9).  At some point she met Charlotte Despard, through whose diaries we get a much better picture of Kate Harvey. They lived together, and protested together, forming a close bond.  I will not repeat the full story here as others have already covered it in greater depth, but after a siege of her home, bailiffs eventually broke in, and The Times tells us,

Mrs Catherine Harvey, of Bromley, a member of the Women’s Freedom League, has been conveyed to Holloway Prison to undergo two month’s imprisonment. At Bromley Police Court some five weeks ago Mrs. Harvey was ordered to pay fines amounting to over £16 under an Insurance Act application and over £5 under the Kent County Council prosecution. She declined to pay, and her presentimprisonment is the outcome of her refusal. (The Times, 1913)

After the war she took up work with children again, running some form of school at Hartfield in Sussex. Her close relationship with Despard weakened. Running of that school was taken over by The Invalid Children’s Aid Association from 1924 to 1927, but then she took up running the school again.  You can read more about Kate Harvey in the article by Doreen Woodford, who investigated to what extent she signed.  After conversation with a witness, it seems that Harvey used finger-spelling rather than sign language.

She died at her house of Wroth Tyes, Hartfield, in 1946.

I could not find her in the 1911 census.  Perhaps I did not look hard enough, but I suppose it is possible she refused to fill in the form.
Article from The Vote, June the 17th, 1911

The Times (London, England), Wednesday, Sep 03, 1913; pg. 4; Issue 40307

Woodford, Doreen A. ‘A Deaf Fighter for the Rights of Women.’ Deaf History Journal, 1999, Vol.2 (3) p.7-21

https://web.archive.org/web/20160304000606/http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/this-britain/womens-suffrage-movement-the-story-of-kate-harvey-516710.html

A Deaf Women from the Suffrage Movement, Helen Kirkpatrick Watts (1881-1972)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 9 March 2018

There at least are two women from the suffrage movement who are of interest to the history of d/Deaf people.

This week, Helen Kirkpatrick Watts, was born on the 13th of July 1881, in Bishop Wearmouth, Sunderland.  Her grandfather Henry, was classics teacher in Sussex, and father, Alan Hunter Watts, was a Church of England clergyman, who was for many years Vicar at Lenton, Nottinghamshire.  Her mother, Ethelinda, was born to British parents in Oporto.  Helen was one of nine children.  One of her father’s brothers was John Hunter Watts, a life-long socialist who was a friend of William Morris.  I wonder whether he had any influence on her becoming politically active as a suffragette?

She does not appear on census returns a ‘deaf’ but we know that it those forms do not always reflect the reality, as the informant might not be aware of the hearing loss or might wish to ignore it.  However, from corroborating evidence we know that Helen had hearing loss, though how bad we cannot be sure.  Her friend Helen Blaythwayt said “She is a nice girl, but difficult to talk with because besides being very deaf herself she speaks so that it is very difficult to understand her.” (p.702, Crawford, 2001)

Crawford quotes Watts as saying,

“Votes for Women” will not be won by drawing room chatter. It has got to be fought for in the market-places, and if we don’t fight for it, no-one else will… The open-air meeting is a symbol of the principles, the method, and the spirit of the most vigorous movement towards Woman Suffrage in England today. The Suffragettes have come out of the drawing room, the study and the debating hall, and the committee rooms of Members of Parliament, to appeal to the real sovereign power of the country – THE PEOPLE.

Helen was imprisoned in Holloway gaol in 1909, and she spoke at many public meetings on socialist and feminist topics.  After she left the Women’s Suffrage Political Union Helen joined the Women’s Freedom League. During the war she nursed at the Mineral Water Hospital, Bath and later worked at the war office and Ministry of Labour before she emigrated to Canada for a while, perhaps intending to stay with her sister Ethelinda.  For some reason she returned to Britain, leaving a trunk of posessions and papers in Avonmouth Docks for many years.  She died in Somerset in August, 1972.

Read more about her on Elizabeth Crawford’s web pages.  I think much more could be put together about her life from all these disparate sources.

Crawford, Elizabeth, The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A Reference Guide, 1866-1928, 2001.

http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/WwattsH.htm

Suffrage Stories: Helen Watts And The Mystery Of The Unclaimed Trunk

The Times (London, England), Friday, Feb 26, 1909; pg. 7; Issue 38893

Census 1911 Class: RG14; Piece: 14657; Schedule Number: 101

Census 1901 Class: RG13; Piece: 3164; Folio: 129; Page: 18

Census 1891 Class: RG12; Piece: 639; Folio: 7; Page: 8

 

Helen Marion Burnside, “carried the radiance of her very soul in her face”

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 6 October 2017

BurnsideThe chances are, that unless you are a collector of Victorian Christmas cards, you will never have heard of Helen Marion Burnside (1841-1923), yet in her day her words will have been widely read, for she wrote seasonal greeting verses;

In honour of the happy time
These girls and boys are brisk as bees,
From peep of day to vesper chime,
Preparing for festivities.

Born on September the 14th, 1841, in Bromley-by-Bow, Middlesex (London), probably at Manor field House, near the beautiful Bromley Hall, perhaps the oldest brick building in London, Helen lost her hearing aged 13 as a result of scarlet fever.  Note her birth was in 1841, as Mary Ann Helen – not 1844 as some sources say.  I think she cut a few years off her stated age as she got older.  She was baptized in St. Leonard’s Church in the 13th of October.

“During my girlhood days,” she once said to the writer, “my greatest desire was to become a musician, but at thirteen years of age a terrible calamity befell me. I became totally deaf as the result of an attack of scarlet fever, and never regained my hearing. Then it was I took to verse writing as another way of making music, for it was the desire to write words for music which, in the first instance, induced me to try the art of rhyming.”*

She was a talented artist, and had a picture exhibited at the Royal Academy when quite young; “before she was nineteen years of age the Royal Academy accepted one of her pictures of fruit and flowers, and, later, a couple of portraits in crayons” (The Strand).

She published many lyrics and poems, and it seems that over six thousand of her verses were put into Christmas cards over the years, as well as 150 of her songs being put to music.  This song, advertised in John Bull in 1871, was to music by Miss Maria Lindsay (Mrs M. Worthington Bliss);

It has seemed so long since morning tide,
And I have been left so lone,
Young smiling faces throng’d my side
When the early sunlight shone;
But they grew tired long ago, and I saw them sink to rest,
With folded hands and brows of snow, on the green earth’s mother breast.

Another lyric of hers, The Sprig of May, was put to music by Queen Victoria’s pianist, Jacques Blumenthal in 1883.

She worked as a designer for the Royal School of Art Needlework for nine years, “painting vellum bound books, having obtained a diploma in this branch of art from the World’s Columbian Exhibition.

Marion wrote many children’s books, and contributed many articles to The Girl’s Own Paper, including a story called “The Deaf Girl next door; or Marjory’s life work” which was in the March supplement in 1899, that I have not yet tracked down.  I wonder whether she knew Fred Gilby in person, for in a long article in The Girl’s Own Paper for 1897, she wrote an article about the Deaf, talking about The Royal Association in Aid of the Deaf and Dumb, mentioning Ephphatha their magazine, and its editor, MacDonald Cuttell.  Writing to her audience of girls, she said, “What they require is to be encouraged to mix , on as equal terms as possible, with hearing persons, not to be set apart and left out in the cold, as if debarred by reason of their affliction from the interests, sympathies, amusements, and occupations of other girls.”

In 1878 she moved in to live with the novelist Rosa Nouchette Carey (1840–1909).  She was certainly staying with her a 3 Eton Road, near Chalk Farm, in 1871.  It seems probable that they were life long friends as Rosa was also born in Bromley-by-Bow in 1840.  Carey left her an annuity when she died.

W.R. Roe wrote of her, in Peeps into the Deaf World,

To her the pleasantest part of her work was that done for children.  On leaving the Royal School of Art and Needlework she was for some years engaged in editing for Messrs. Raphael Tuck and Co., and also wrote many stories and verses for children.
She said that the great regret of her life was that she did not become proficient in lip-reading.  She had become accustomed to the use of the manual alphabet on the part of her friends, and her life being a busy one, she had neither time nor opportunity to acquire an art which a few years back was regarded as of doubtful value compared to other branches of learning.
Marion Burnside carried the radiance of her very soul in her face; and she let the world have the benefit of it. (Roe, 1917, p.320)

Helen Marion Burnside died at Updown Hill House, in Windlesham, Surrey, on the 5th of December, 1923.

Exhibited at Royal Academy, 1863; Columbian Exposition (honourable mention), 1895; Society of Lady Artists, 1897; designer to Royal School of Art Needlework, 1880–89; editor to Messrs Raphael Tuck and Co., 1889–95

John Bull (London, England), Saturday, January 28, 1871; pg. 50; Issue 2,616

Burnside, Helen Marion, Help for Deaf Girls. The Girl’s Own Paper (London, England), Saturday, August 14, 1897; pg. 734; Issue 920.

*Every Woman’s Encyclopaedia, Volume 4

The Girl’s Own Paper (London, England), Saturday, April 14, 1883; pg. 439; Issue 172

Roe, W.R., Peeps into the Deaf World, 1917 p.319-20

The Strand Magazine, Volume 1, Jan-June 1891 – picture from here

https://www.pinterest.co.uk/terri_klugh/christmas-of-the-past/

http://www.victorianweb.org/mt/dbscott/3.html#lindsay

http://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/article/oupww/whowaswho/U194195, accessed 6 Oct 2017

Census 1851 – Class: HO107; Piece: 1555; Folio: 472; Page: 4; GSU roll: 174787

Census 1861 – (as Mary Ann) Class: RG 9; Piece: 91; Folio: 51; Page: 8; GSU roll: 542572

Census 1871 – Class: RG10; Piece: 194; Folio: 4; Page: 1; GSU roll: 823312

Census 1881 – Class: RG11; Piece: 173; Folio: 65; Page: 22; GSU roll: 1341037

Census 1891 – Class: RG12; Piece: 452; Folio: 86; Page: 38; GSU roll: 6095562

Census 1901 – Class: RG13; Piece: 481; Folio: 170; Page: 17

Census 1911 – Class: RG14; Piece: 5146; Schedule Number: 30

 

First Deaf Person on TV in Britain – “Topsy,” or Eileen Guy, from Central Asia (ca.1914-1998)

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 29 September 2017

Scanned from a Xerox Multifunction Printer (00A)In the early part of the 20th century, three bold and independent women made a name for themselves as the ‘Trio’ of missionaries in the far east of China, in Gansu.  They were Mildred Cable (1878-1952), and the two sisters, Evangeline French (1869-1960) and Francesca French (1871-1960).  They travelled widely in the deserts and moutains of that region, attempting to convert local people.  One day they heard a ‘tap, tap tap’ at the door, and it was a young child of six or seven nicknamed ‘Gwa Gwa,’ that is ‘little lonely’ (Cable & French p. 9-14).  The girl was deaf, the daughter of a Tibetan mother and a Mongol chief.  She had been fostered, then the foster mother sold her when she discovered she was deaf.  She was then sent out to beg (ibid p.19-22).  The Trio bought her freedom, and changed her name to Ai Lien, meaning ‘Love Bond.’  The three missionary ladies called her Topsy for some reason.  After some difficulties with one of the warlords in the area, they eventually escaped to Urumchi, then Chuguchak.  Topsy mapTo get through Russia, they had to give Ai Lien a British name and passport, so they anglicized it to Eileen with the surname Guy as one of the three, the ‘Blue Lady’ as she is called in the book, had the Chinese surname Gai.  Eventually they had permission to cross Russia, and they arrived back in England, where they divided their time between living in Dorset and Watford.  Once in England she started to get an oral education (p.123-4)

The French sisters died within a short time of each other in 1960, leaving Eileen a comfortable inheritance.

According to one of our old library index cards from Selwyn and Kate Oxley, Topsy was the first Deaf person to be on television in Britain, with the Trio, at Alexandra Palace.  That would have been before the war.  It may be that the BBC archives could confirm that.

I have not discovered whether Eileen/Topsy had any contact with the Deaf community in Britain – I did not see an obituary in the British Deaf News.  She died in 1998 in Penge.  If anyone knew her, please do comment below.topsy 1

“Former Slave Girl Benefits In Wills.” Times [London, England] 27 Sept. 1960: 4. The Times Digital Archive. Web. 29 Sept. 2017

Cable, M., and French, Fr., The Story of Topsy, (1937, reprinted 1957)

http://hucandgabetbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2010/10/women-of-gobi-journeys-on-silk-road.html

Gertrude M. Engledue and Edward Thomas – a deaf pupil and her teacher

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 4 August 2017

Gertrude Mary Engledue was born in Dublin, on the 30th of January, 1868, daughter of William John Engledue (born in Liverpool) and his wife Eliza McIvor Forrest (see www.ancestry.co.uk).  Her parents married in India.  She was deaf from birth, according to the 1881 census, and from childhood according to the 1901 census, but is not in the 1891 or 1911 censuses.  In 1881 she was a pupil at a small school for deaf children in Bristol, run by Glamorgan born Edward Thomas, and his wife Emily, at 8 Burlington Buildings, Redland Park.  Across the country there were thousands of these small schools, presumably not very well regulated, and run as small family businesses.  Some, like this one, specialised in particular children, ones who needed more care.  To what extent they got that, we might well question.  Perhaps the surest guide would be to follow through as best as possible what became of those children in later life.  Gertrude M EngledueHere is a truncated version of the 1881 census –

Edward Thomas Head 37 1844 Cowbridge Glamorgan
Emily Thomas Wife 41 1840 Bristol Gloucestershire
Eliza Nurse Mother in Law 70 1811 Bristol Gloucestershire
Gertrude M. Engledue Pupil 13 1868 Dublin Deaf & Dumb birth
Isabella Shickle Pupil 12 1869 Bath Somerset Deaf & Dumb birth
John R.K. Toms Pupil 13 1868 Wellington Somerset Deaf & Dumb
Edward Foster A. Pupil 13 1868 Canterbury Kent Deaf & Dumb birth
Cyril G. Bosanquet Pupil 11 1870 Ramsgate Kent
Wilfred J. Reckitt Pupil 13 1868 London Middlesex Deaf & Dumb birth
Horace R McGrath. Pupil 8 1873 Bempton Yorkshire
Frederick J. Gourlay Pupil 10 1871 Weston S M Somerset Imbecile
Catherine Gourlay Pupil 8 1873 Weston S M Somerset Imbecile

As we see, not all the pupils were deaf.

The teacher, Edward Thomas, became the missioner to the Deaf of Bristol in 1884, a post he held until his death in 1913.  His first wife Emily died in early 1898.Ed Thomas  Within six months he had re-married, to Theodora Ryecroft, who was twenty years his junior.  His obituary is full of praise for his hard work, visiting the sick and helping others to find work.  We are told in his obituary that he “acted as interpreter when necessary at weddings, funerals, police court cases, etc.”

Gertrude later became President of the Portsmouth Deaf and Dumb Club. The brief notice in The Hampshire Deaf Chronicle for 1923 tells us that she travelled extensively abroad, and came “into contact with the deaf of many countries.  She was the close friend of the late Sir Arthur Fairbairn, who during his life did so much for the Hampshire deaf.”

Well, she was in fact such a close friend that she married him, in February 1897.  Sir Arthur Fairbairn had married Florence Frideswyde Long in 1882, but the marriage only lasted a couple of weeks (see Eagling and Dimmock for more on Fairbairn).  Gilby says in his unpublished memoir,

it is quite often the case that a woman will marry a deaf man through pity, only to find out afterwards she has made a terrible mistake. So frequently have confidences of this nature been imparted to me and my wife that we feel bound to make known how unfortunate marriages of this sort are likely to prove. Sir Arthur Fairbairn made a marriage of this kind, and he was parted from his wife within a few weeks of the marriage. We are blaming neither of the parties to this marriage, but giving it as an instance. (Gilby memoir, p.66)

We might presume that although he was divorced, he felt unable to make his re-marriage public knowledge because of the social stigma.*  Gertrude seems to have retained her maiden name, even unto death – her registration is as Engledue – and neither William Roe in his article on Fairbairn in Peeps into the Deaf World, nor Gilby in his memoirs, mention that he married Gertrude.  Perhaps the couple’s friends kept the secret, but perhaps only a few people knew.

Gerty, as Gilby calls her at one point, was a close friend of Sir Arthur Fairbairn’s sister and companion, Constance.   When, in 1904, the Royal Association for the Deaf and Dumb as it was then called, held a Grand Bazaar at Marylebone in the Wharncliffe Rooms of the Grand Central Hotel, Marylebone, Constance and Gerty were a great help.  Constance,

had worked like a Trojan and with her great friend Miss Gerty Engledue, and those who helped at her stall did great things and died – yes died – a month after the event at which she lent her failing hands.  […]  Miss Gertrude Engledue (who had a deaf brother) and her Aunts were among our keenest supporters, and they were backing the Constance Fairbairn Stall.  Indeed Miss Engledue and Miss Fairbairn were Hon. Secretaries with me. (Gilby p.178)

Gertrude died in Northiam, Sussex, on the 29th of April, 1952, and is buried in Tunbridge Wells.

How sad that they felt they could not live together.

*I have not found a divorce record for them – if you have, please leave a comment below.  Indeed, did they get divorced?  Geoff Eagling and Arthur Dimmock say that the certificate for his second marriage in a registry office, calls him a bachelor.  When Florence died in 1941 she was called lady Fairbairn, Sir Arthur’s widow in The Times.  A Times story for 1909 reports the wedding of Thomas Fairbairn, arttended by Sir Arthur and ‘Mrs Fairbairn’ – is that Gertrude, as she is not called ‘Lady Fairbairn’?

[I found a death notice in the Times for 1944, placed by Gertrude to her faithful servant of 29 years, Catherine Barber, who was in 1911 a servant at the Fairbairn’s Chichester Home, Wren House.]

[Her Deaf brother would appear to have been James Allen, born in Calcutta – and a pupil at Bingham’s school, but I think this needs checking as the ancestry records say his father was William John, which might make him her uncle… It would then mean that Arthur may have been at school at the same time as James… This needs clarification!  Gilby was a pretty reliable witness, and relied on old diary entries for the incomplete memoirs, but he was writing in 1938, and perhaps he was confused or forgot some details.  Thanks to Norma McGilp  for additional information.]

Woodford, W., Obituary Mr. Edward Thomas, British Deaf Times 1913, p.203

The Hampshire Deaf Chronicle. Jan-Feb-Mar 1924 p. 4 (Photo of Gertuude Engledue)

Eagling, Geoff, & Dimmock, Arthur, Sir Arthur Henderson Fairbairn, 2006

Gilby’s unpublished memoir

1861 Census – Class: RG 9; Piece: 2212; Folio: 63; Page: 26; GSU roll: 542936

1881 Census – Thomas and Engledue – Class: RG11; Piece: 2503; Folio: 119; Page: 18; GSU roll: 1341604

1881 Census – Charles and Herbert Engledue – Class: RG11; Piece: 1231; Folio: 28; Page: 6; GSU roll: 1341301

1891 Census – Engledue – Class: RG12; Piece: 32; Folio: 71; Page: 25; GSU roll: 6095142

1901 Census – Thomas – Class: RG13; Piece: 2367; Folio: 186; Page: 30

1901 Census – Gertrude Engledue – Class: RG13; Piece: 36; Folio: 61; Page: 1

1901 Census – Ralph and Guy Engledue – Class: RG13; Piece: 593; Folio: 7; Page: 6

1911 Census – Engledue – Class: RG14; Piece: 133

Miss Louisa Rice “is blessed with sweet reasonableness, which will help her in the struggles of life” & Albert Luck

By H Dominic W Stiles, on 21 July 2017

There must have been fireworks when Louisa Rice was born, for it was on the 5th of November, 1899, in Raunds, Northamptonshire.  She appears to have been deaf from birth, though not surprisingly the 1901 census does not note this – her parents may not have yet realized.  Her father, John, was a shoemaker, which is hardly a surprise for that area in that period.  She appears in Derby School headmaster W.R. Roe’s 1917 book, Snapshots of the Deaf.  This book, and its companion, provide a really useful picture of how children at the Derby school one hundred years ago fared in work after they had left.  Roe wanted to alert the general public to the fact that his pupils were well educated and industrious workers.  He wrote in his preface,

The Institution is building monuments of character which will live on, not as memories merely, but as active, vital facts affecting for good the present and succeeding generations. (p. ix) […]
Now thousands of cheery letters telling us of their work and successes, come from old pupils who are scattered over nearly every county in England, some in Scotland and Wales, and others in the United States of America, South Africa, and Canada. (p. xiii)

Louisa RiceHe says of Louisa, that she had joined the school ten years previously – that would be when she was approximately eight, in 1907.

She was a very lively, sometimes rather mischievous, but a good-hearted girl, and did well in the scholastic and industrial departments.
On leaving the Institution she returned to her home at Raunds, Northamptonshire.  She soon obtained employment in a boot factory, where she is doing work connected with ladies’ and children’s boots, and earning good wages.  Louisa is blessed with sweet reasonableness, which will help her in the struggles of life. (Roe, 1917)

Albert Luck was born in Wollaston, Northants, on the 11th of August, 1899.  His father Frederick was a shoe riveter.  Rather than attending the Derby School, on the 16th of January 1911 he was admitted to the Royal Schools for the Deaf, Manchester, his end of school date was due to be on his sixteenth birthday in 1915. As you see, the cause of his deafness was unknown.Stretford

In 1925, Louisa and Albert married.  I have no idea how they met – perhaps they worked at the same factory, perhaps they met through the local mission or a deaf club.  The mission that started in the late 1920s, was run by Algernon J.M. Barnett.  From a search of Free BMD and www.ancestry.com I see that Louisa and Albert had four children, Betty (1928-2009), what I assume were twins, in 1930 Jack E. and Reginald A. (he died 1979), and Joan in 1933.  Louisa died in 1984, and Albert died in 1985.  If you know anything more about them or the Northamptonshire Deaf of that era, do comment below.

For a flavour of the Northamptonshire area in that period, try reading some of H.E. Bates‘s early novels, for example, The Poacher.  Bates was born at Rushden in 1905, so was almost a contemporary of Louisa Rice.

Below we see boys in the Manchester Schools 1915 annual report, learning to make shoes.  It is just possible that Albert Luck is in the picture.shoe making Stretford

Roe, W.R. Snapshots of the Deaf, Derby, 1917, p.246

1901 Census – Louisa: Class: RG13; Piece: 1454; Folio: 53; Page: 29, Albert: Class: RG13; Piece: 1438; Folio: 182; Page: 13

1911 Census – Louisa: Class: RG14; Piece: 20943; Page: 5, Albert: Class: RG14; Piece: 23656; Page: 6

Free BMD

www.ancestry.co.uk for death dates