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Book Description

Thirteenth impression. 8vo, pp.[xiv], [256] + frontis with tissue guard. Red cloth, lettered in gilt to spine and upper board, gilt ruled. Top edge gilt, others untrimmed. Spine sunned and unevenly to boards, pushing and wear to spine ends, top front corner bumped, shallow dents to lower board. Edges toned and spotted. Holme’s striking ex libris, designed by Jesse M. King to front pastedown (a little grubby), with “V. Holme” in pen to ffep, and“from Honor Bone/ 29th August 1913” in pencil underneath. Light offsetting from ex libris and frontis, spotting to front and rear. Else, clean and tidy. Bone’s Porchester Place visiting slip with hand-written gift inscription laid in: “With love from E.H.B –/ May you have a very happy birthday –/ 29.VIII.13” (Holme’s 31st birthday). A good+ copy of a collection that leads with Henley’s hospital poems and with a fascinating medical-cum-suffrage provenance.
Dealer Notes
FROM THE LIBRARY OF VERA JACK HOLME: SUFFRAGETTE & SAPPHIST, AID WORKER & ACTRESS

“A NOISY, EXPLOSIVE YOUNG PERSON”

Mrs Pankhurst’s description of Vera Jack Holme (1882-1969) above, aptly captures Holme’s active role in the militant side of the suffrage movement, her aid work in Serbia and Russia during WW1, as well as her sheer vim for life. Holme, who,especially in later years, chose a masculinised style of dress and wore herhair “decidedly short,”was known to friends and lovers as Jak, Jack or Jacko, a nickname from her music hall days (Crawford, 1999). These lifelong friendships and romantic relationships were tightly interwoven with membership of the WSPU. Holme’s ever enthusiastic contributions included playing Hannah Snell in Cicely Hamilton’s Pageant of Great Women, stone throwing, hiding in an organ to declare “Votes for Women”through the pipes, and touring magic lantern talks to campaign for the movement. Alongside this theatrical and activist bent, Holme’s mechanical expertise – she is perhaps most celebrated for driving the Pankhursts and is recorded as Britain’s first female chauffeur – led to work in the transport wing of a Scottish Women’s Hospitals unit in Serbia.

Holme and Dr Elizabeth Honor Bone (1875-1950) likely met through the suffrage movement, with both Bone’s partner Dr. Christine Murrell and Holme active in the WSPU; Bone certainly treated Suffragettes, such as Alice Singer, who was keen to support women doctors (Crawford, 1919 & 2013). While Murrell is the better known of the pair(as the first woman to be elected to the General Medical Council in1933),the Bone-Murrell practice was itself significant: not only for being run and financed by women, but because, unusually, it was located in a residential district. Murrell’s first biographer, Christopher St. John averred: “their successful pioneer work in developing a large practice has contributed in no small part to the stability of women in the medical profession”(St. John, 1935). The couple lived and worked together for 30 years, becoming a ménage à trois when Marie Lawson – successful businesswoman, WSPU, and later Women’s Freedom League,member – joined their household in 1922. All three women subsequently moved into Four Winds, Frimley Green, Aldershot, a house designed “to our own theories of the ideal country home”(p.40). Holme was a close friend of St. John’s partner, Edy Craig, often at their home Priest’s House and is included in The Barn Theatre at National Trust Smallhythe, where she often trod the boards.

The inscription‘V. Holme’ appears to be in the hand of Margaret Campbell Greenlees, rather than Holme’s own, perhaps seeking to retain individual ownership of books in the shared library at Lockhearnhead(?), but inadvertently providing a compelling trace of their queer household.

Elizabeth Crawford (1999) The Women’s Suffrage Movement: A reference guide, 1866-1928; Elizabeth Crawford (2013) ‘Suffrage Stories: Mrs Alice Singer, Miss Edith New and The Suffragette Doll.’Women and her Sphere Blog; Emily Hamer (2016) Britannia’s Glory: A history of twentieth century lesbians. London: Bloomsbury Academic; Christopher St. John (1935) Christine Murrell, M.D.: Her life and work. London: William & Norgate Ltd.
Author HENLEY, William Ernest; [BONE, M.D., Elizabeth Honor]; [HOLME, Vera Jack]; [KING, Jessie M.]
Date 1912
Publisher London: David Nutt at the Sign of the Phoenix in Long Acre
Condition Good+

Price: £350.00

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