Mrs Alfred Sidgwick

Cecily Sidgwick was a lady of German extraction who published 41 novels & short stories, and 4 works of non-fiction between 1889 and her death in 1934.

My great grandmother only had one of her novels, and it's one I think is rather interesting. I'll discuss it in a later post.

In addition to her novels, she published a number of articles. One of the most widely referenced is Student Life at the German Universities (1900). Also of contemporary interest is a 1924 article that appeared in Good Housekeeping, Should Married Women Work? This does not appear to be available online, but has been reprinted in Cupcakes and Kalashnikovs: 100 years of the best journalism by women, Eleanor Mills & Kira Cochrane, eds 2005. (link is to a review).

Cecily Sidgwick started off writing as Mrs Andrew Dean but seems to have abandoned this pseudonym around the turn of the century, only using it once more, in 1924. Several of her novels were reissued in later years presumably to cash in on her success. She wrote several collaborations including one novel, a book about gardening, and an illustrated book about Germany. She was certainly prolific; from her first book in 1889, with the exceptions of 1890, 1891, 1896-8, 1900, 1906, and 1914, she published at least one, sometimes two books a year until her death in 1934.

Caroline Schlegal & her Friends, 1889
Isaac Eller's Money, 1889 (as Mrs Andrew Dean)
Splendid Cousin, 1892 (as Mrs Andrew Dean)
Mrs Finch-Brassey, 1893
Lesser's Daughter, 1894 (as Mrs Andrew Dean)
Grasshoppers, 1895 (as Mrs Andrew Dean)
Cousin Ivo, 1899 (as Mrs Andrew Dean)
Cynthia's Way, 1901
The Thousand Eugenias and other stories, 1902
Beryl Stones, 1903
Scenes of Jewish life, 1904
Professor's legacy, 1905
Kinsman, 1907
Home Life in Germany, 1908
Children's Book of Gardening, 1909 (with Mrs Paynter)
Germany, 1909
Lantern Bearers, 1910
Anthea's Guest, 1911
Odd come shorts, 1911
Lamorna, 1912
Inner Shrine, 1912.
Below Stairs, 1913
Mr Sheringham and others, 1913
Mr Broom and his Brother, 1915
In other days, 1915
Salt and savour, 1916
Anne Lulworth, 1917
Karen, 1918
Purple jar, 1919
Black Knight, 1920 (with Crosbie Garstin)
Law & Outlaw, 1921
Victorian, 1922
None-go-by, 1923
London Mixture, 1924
A woman with a future, 1924 (as Mrs Andrew Dean)
Humming Bird, 1925
Sack and Sugar, 1926
Bride's Prelude, 1927
Come by Chance, 1928
Six of them, 1929
Masquerade, 1930
Storms and teacups, 1931
Maid and Minx, 1932
Poverty and Riches, 1933
Refugee, 1934
The Lantern Bearers was reviewed in vol 7 of The New Age, 1910 a weekly journal published in London. (Link is to a pdf file) They don't think much of it. 

"She is something worse than impertinent in taking Stevenson's delightful phrase as title for this rubbishy story."

Punch was pretty dismissive too. It reviewed Anne Lulworth in 1917

"Have you ever imagined yourself plunged (bodily, not mentally) into the midst of a story by some particular author? If, for example, you could get inside the covers of a Mrs. Alfred Sidgwick novel, what would you expect to find? Probably a large and pleasantly impecunious family, with one special daughter who combines great practical sense with rare personal charm. You would certainly not be startled to find her brought into contact with persons of greater social importance than her own; and you would be excusably disappointed if she did not end by securing the most eligible young male in the cast. I feel bound to add that a perusal of Anne Lulworth has left me with these convictions more firmly established than ever."

Full review available at Project Gutenberg (near the bottom).


10 responses to “Mrs Alfred Sidgwick

  1. Andrew Belsey

    Thank you for ensuring that the names and works of lesser-known writers are not totally forgotten, and especially for the full bibliography of Mrs Alfred Sidgwick. This is an excellent public service. I must admit I wasn’t all that impressed by the one novel I read, but her gardening book for children is delightful, especially the illustrations.

  2. Thanks for your comments. Writing popularity seems to be far more ephemeral than we tend to think. Mrs Sidgwick was well known and liked in her day, but virtually unknown now. Having said that, though, I pulled together this post after a quick google, so information about her (and others) is out there.

  3. Mrs Alfred Sidgewick, Aunty Ciss, was my great aunt. What do you want to know?

    Gill Shaw

    • Ulf Tveten

      I just pulled Cecily Sidgwick’s Cyntia’s Way out of my bookshelf. It was, according to the inscription, given to my mother (who was then 13 years old) in 1913. I have not read it previously, but found it to be charming and interesting. Not least interesting in illustrating the huge difference in women’s life situation (in North-European countries at least) between then and now. The book has its great weaknesses, of course, especially the last 50 pages or so, but altogether worth the time spent reading it.
      Ulf Tveten, Oslo, Norway,

  4. betty blackbent

    Having bought a copy of “None-go-By” for 25 pence on a whim, Mrs Sidgwick has become one of my great reading obsessions.
    Punch’ reviewer has clearly merely skimmed, that’s all I can say.
    Both Mrs. Sidwick and Elizabeth Von Armin head the list of forgotten authors who need to be brought back into print immediately.

  5. Anonymous

    She wrote Iron Cousins I think in 1920 or 21. I read it in my teens having found it in my great aunt’s library in 1962. Interesting, as it was set in 1914, and showed anti-semitism in Hamburg prior to WWI. I had not realized until then that Hitler and his gang had not created it, and that it was much older in Germany.

  6. Helmut Walser Smith

    Her book, Life in Germany, is just wonderful. I agree: an unfairly forgotten author.

  7. Pingback: Mrs Alfred Sidgwick (c.1850-1934) and Cousin Ivo (1899) | Reading 1900-1950

  8. Pingback: Karen by Mrs Alfred Sidgwick (1918) | Reading 1900-1950

  9. Anonymous

    I have a book by Mrs. Andrew Dean, A Woman with a Future published by Fredrick A. Stokes, Publishers, New York and London. Copyright, 1895. It is a beautiful green hardback cover with red roses set in silver. Do you have any history you can share.

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