[ S. Gertrude Ford, poet and suffragist. ] Holograph poem ('Compensation') and four Autograph Letters Signed to editor ('Wilson') and illustrator ('Robinson') of 'B. M. T[elegraph].' Topics include her writing, publication, and views on bereavement.

S. Gertrude Ford, poet, journalist, suffragist and methodist, born in the Rossendale Valley, Lancashire [ probably sister of Cicely Ford (1876-1960) of Girton College, social worker and deaconess ]
Publication details: 
The first three letters from Chelmsford Cottage, Pine Rd, Winton, Bournemouth. 20 November 1905, and 4 and 11 January 1906. Fourth letter from Heather Cottage, Withermore Rd, Winton, Bournemouth, 20 July 1907. Poem dated October 1903.
SKU: 16756

Ford's first book of verse was 'Sung by the Way', published in Blackburn in 1905. She published several volumes of patriotic poetry: 'Poems of War and Peace' (1915), 'A Crown of Amaranth' (with Erskine Macdonald, 1915), 'Our Heroes' (1916); 'A Fight to a Finish' (1917). Other volumes include 'Lyric Leaves' (1912) and 'The England of my Dream' (1928). She edited the series of 'Little Books of Georgian Verse', 1915-1916. Her 'Lessons in Verse-Craft' was published in 1919 with a second edition in 1923. Her song 'In the Twilight' (1923) was set to music by Harry Brookes. At the time of writing Ford, who had been an active methodist and suffragist, lived in Bournemouth with her sister Cicely - presumably Cicely Ford (1876-1960), social worker and deaconess, who had entered Girton College in 1894. They pair would later correspond with retired president Woodrow Wilson. The letters total 17pp., 12mo. ONE: Holograph poem titled 'Compensation.' 1p., 4to. Dated and signed at foot: 'October, 1903. | S. Gertrude Ford.' Aged and worn, with central horizontal fold strengthened on reverse with archival tape. A sonnet, apparently unpublished, beginning: 'If that bright bird of heaven on earth called Love | Indeed be fled for ever; if his song | No more may gladden me who heard it long; | [...]' Sent to Robinson with Item Four below, in which she explains its background as one of 'a series known only to my intimate personal friends'. TWO: ALS to 'Mr. Wilson'. 20 November 1905. 3pp., 12mo. She discusses the preparations for a publication: 'I have been revising and re-revising, and yet again revising, my collected poems - [...] what a delightfully you-authorish sensation it gives one to revise the proofs of one's first book!' She expresses her gratitude 'to Mr. "Tum" - and to all the rest of you - for giving me that pleasure'. She also asks for '2 copies of last week's "B. M. T." - not the current number, but that containing my article on Rossetti'. She praises Wilson's artist 'on the delightfully clever illustrations which he supplies to your columns. How he catches the spirit of the scene he intends to convey, and with what true artistic insight he seizes its salient points! His illustration of my own last article seemed to me particularly admirable.' There is also a reference to 'Rosamund', 'at Blackburn or at Clitheroe'. THREE: ALS to 'Mr. Robinson'. 4 January 1906. 3pp., 12mo. Item Two has clearly been forwarded to him, as the illustrator referred to in it, and she now thanks him for a 'beautiful and valuable contribution' to her album, which reminds her 'of the exquisite illustrations which adorn my copy of Fouqué's "Undine," done in a similar style', whose beauties she and her sister have 'found real pleasure in examining'. She expresses her admiration for his work in the 'Telegraph': 'it is that of a true artist, and one can give it no greater praise [...] It is much to be able to transmute thought into the witchery of line and colour [...] and the artist who adds to this gift a noble motive and a high ideal can achieve a wonderful work for his Master - "the Artist of the All."' FOUR: ALS to Robinson. 11 January 1906. 8pp., 12mo. She writes 'quite a long letter', explaining that she has been deeply touched by his 'generous confidence in a stranger friend (though a friend no less because a stranger)', informing her of his pain over a recent bereavement (of his wife, evidently). She expresses at great length deep sympathy based on a similar loss, and placed within a religious context. 'I know now why your illustration of my article on Rossetti's love-tragedy was so beautiful, and as true to the inmost spirit of the scene - it was your own story that was read into his. But you will not sorrow without hope, as he so often did, will you? You know that you will find your flower again in His garden - it is always waiting for you there; nay, its fragrance is all about you even now, wafted on every wind of the Spirit. [...]' She next thanks him for sending her his verses, and in return she is sending Item One: 'a sonnet of my own on "Compensation" - one of a series known only to my intimate personal friends, because the sonnets chronicle my personal heart-history. Keep it if you will.' She has a 'double tie of friendship' with him, through 'Mr. Gardiner', whose letter to her during 'one of the sharpest crises' of her life, 'was the turning point of my whole existence'. She concludes with an invitation for the summer. FIVE: ALS to Robinson. 20 July 1907. 3pp., 12mo. She is at a loss how to thank him 'adequately for the beautiful picture, and for the great kindness and thoughtfulness, which prompted you to send me a gift so entirely acceptable'. The picture 'is the more welcome because, though we have good books and good music in plenty, good pictures are with us an unattainable though longed-for luxury'. She is proud that her verses have inspired it: 'You may care to know that "An Appeal" has won quite a shower of congratulations - most of them from strangers, one of whom was a bereaved husband who had lived what I had only written. It is, I need not say, a great joy to me that "the Comforter" seems to be using my work to help the sorrowing lovers of the world, for whom I have always a special tenderness.' She explains that they have moved from Pine Rd, having found the neighbourhood 'insufferable in many ways', but that 'the gifted "Telegraph" artist will always be welcome' at their new address.