Theodora Bosanquet

Theodora Bosanquet (1880 - 1961), the first chairman of the Library Committee in 1927, had graduated B.Sc. from University College, London. Having taught herself to type, she was secretary to Henry James from 1907 to 1916, at twenty-five shillings a week. Although James was reputed to like his typists to be 'without a mind', he was soon telling his brother of a 'new excellent amanuensis, a young boyish Miss Bosanquet'. In 1924 the Hogarth Press published her pamphlet, Henry James at work. Through James she met writers like Edith Wharton.

An early feminist, she attended a suffragette lecture in Rye with James and his niece. Her diaries, now in the Houghton Library, were used by James' biographer, Leon Edel. During World Was I she worked in the War Trade Intelligence Department and the Ministry of Food, being appointed M.B.E. in 1919.

After the formation of IFUW, she became Executive Secretary from 1920 to 1935. She was associated with Lady Rhondda at Time and Tide, securing a monthly donation of books for the library; she served as Literary Editor, 1935 - 1953, and as a Director, 1943 to 1958, publishing a biography of Harriet Martineau in 1954. She also published Spectators (with Clara Smith), in 1916, and Paul Valery, 1933.

MAY HERMES, MBE    1899-1997

May Hermes, Gertrude’s sister, was the first librarian of the Crosby Hall Library when it was set up in 1928. The library eventually became the BFWG Sybil Campbell Collection.  May was then a young woman of 29 and served as librarian and later as special adviser to well beyond her 90th birthday.  A skilled book binder she rebound some of the books in the library.  She was also Secretary of IFUW 1941-1956.  To those who knew her, “she was a lovely person”.

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