Book Description

FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED BY AUTHOR to one of Royaumont’s own “chauffeuses”. 8vo, pp. 223, [1] + 12 b/w plates (featuring 15 illustrations). Original black cloth, spine and upper board lettered in gilt. Pushing and wear to spine ends and corners. Foxed, a little shaken, inscribed in sepia ink to ffep: “To Miss E. J. McGregor/ (Down with the Darracqs!)/ with every kind wish from her/ old “passenger”/ The author/ Cambridge. March. 1918.” A single pencil amendment appears on p. 134 in Chapter VII’s ‘Chauffeuses’ section, striking through “bearskin coats” and adding “boat [?]” above. In the original sober grey dust jacket, lettered in black: fragile, creased, numerous closed tears, loss to foot of spine, stain to front panel. Nevertheless, a wonderful association copy of De Navarro’s history of the Abbey and his justified celebration of the work of the Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH) there.
Dealer Notes
Eunice Jean McGregor (1892-1989, later Hallam) was a Nairn-born nurse and ambulance driver, V.A.D., who served at the Scottish Women’s Hospital (SWH) at Royaumont Abbey during WWI, having joined SWH in November 1914. The 200 bed hospital, known officially as Hôpital Auxiliaire 301, opened in January 1915 and ran for the length of the war. The SWH had itself been founded in 1914 with the financial support of the Scottish Federation of the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies, the National Union of Women's Suffrage Societies and the American Red Cross. Many women involved in the suffrage movement volunteered.
According to Navarro, McGregor was one of three female drivers of the unit’s “restless fleet” of “three ambulances, two automobiles, one lorry, and a fully-equipped X-ray car,” with each woman responsible for two vehicles. If this is the case, McGregor likely appears in the photograph ‘A Fleet of Cars’ (see images). The transcribed SHW records, however, list many more women as‘Chauffeur Royaumont’: driving ambulances was a dangerous and exhausting job, with a shifting pool of drivers likely necessary to allow for recuperation. Interestingly, it is only an erroneous detail about the chauffeurs’ “sexless storm-clothes” that (presumably) McGregor chose to correct: “bear” for “boat”. It appears McGregor handled at least one of the Unit’s cars (unreliable Daraccq models, it seems, given the inscription) and transported the author, alongside injured Allied soldiers, food and medical supplies, indeed: “everything that the hospital contains has been brought by them [the chauffeurs] from different railway stations”. McGregor was awarded De Médaille d’Honneur des Épidémies.
The wife of America silent film and theatre star, Mary Anderson, Antonio de Navarro (1860-1932) was a barrister and author; following Anderson’s early retirement, the couple spent much of their married life in Britain. Like McGregor, for much of WWI, De Navarro was stationed at Royaumont Abbey, working for the French Red Cross.
Author DE NAVARRO, Antonio; [McGREGOR, Eunice Jean]
Date 1917
Publisher London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd
Condition Good+/ good-only

Price: £225.00

Offered by Quair Books

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