Blanche McManus – Book Illustrator

The original title of this essay was “The Rubaiyat of Blanche McManus.” However, as it became clear that her Rubaiyat illustrations were only a small part of her artistic and literary output, a change of title seemed in order. First, who was Blanche McManus ?

Some Biographical Details

It may seem odd to begin a biography of someone with their obituary, but in the case of Blanche McManus / MacManus (hereafter BMM), it forms a convenient nucleus on which one can build a broader study. The obituary comes from the Mississippi newspaper The Woodville Republican for 22 June 1935:

Mrs Blanche McManus Mansfield died at an infirmary in New Orleans on Wednesday Night June 19 and her remains were brought here for interment the following afternoon in the family cemetery at the McManus home. Rev. T.B. Clifford, rector of the Episcopal church here, officiated at the service which was attended by many of her old friends, in this her girlhood home.

An artist of international fame, a writer of charming books of travel which have been widely read, Mrs. Mansfield was, beyond question the most distinguished of Wilkinson county’s daughters. Born in the family home just outside of Woodville she showed unmistakable signs of exceptional talent early in her life. After reaching young womanhood she studied art in New Orleans and Chicago. The designs she submitted for illustrating the prayer book of the English church at the time of the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in London in 1897 were selected in an international contest of artists, an honor of which the people of her state were justly proud. Going abroad to continue her artistic career she met and married Mr Mansfield, an American diplomat and writer of ability who was consul both at Barcelona, Spain, and Marseilles, France for a period of years. Subsequently she and her husband made Paris their home, and during the World War did much philanthropic work among the French and the American soldiers there. Thus in this cosmopolitan life her experiences were unusual and interesting. She portrayed many of them by word and by illustration in her “An American Woman Abroad” and in her successful series for children, “Our Little Cousins.” She is survived by her husband and by one sister, Mrs Grace Walsh, of McManus La., and of Woodville. Her other sister, Miss Verona McManus, died some years ago.

The obituary does not give her date of birth, or her age at death. A number of sources (1a) say that she was born in about 1870. There is some justification for this year of birth, for in the US Federal Census for 1900 her date of birth is given as January 1870, but in fact this is wrong on both counts. For a start, the US Federal Census for 1870 shows her, aged 5 last birthday, living with her widowed mother, Joanna (aged 40), and her sisters Grace (aged 9) and Verona (aged 17), in East Feliciana, Louisiana (1b). This would suggest that BMM was actually born in c.1865, and, as we shall see later, in her 1892 passport application, she actually gives her date of birth as 2 February 1865, which is consistent with the 1870 census, and with the 1880 census in which her age last birthday is given as 15. Unfortunately, again as we shall see later, she gave her date of birth as 2 February 1864 in two other passport applications (those of 1915 and 1917), as well as in a Consular Registration Certificate in 1914, and if that is true, her age last birthday in the census returns for 1870 and 1880 should have been 6 and 16 respectively (1c). Is it significant that 1865 features in much earlier documents than 1864, implying, perhaps, that 1864 was the result of a memory lapse ? And yet 1864 is the right year if family records are correct that she was christened at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Jackson, Louisiana, on 15 September 1864 (1d)! Unfortunately, at the time of writing, no copy of a baptismal certificate has come to light, so it is possible that 1864 is a typo for 1865. It is hardly surprising, then, that there has been such confusion over exactly when she was born!

As to her place of birth, family records (1d) show that she was born on the Talladega Plantation in the town of McManus in East Feliciana Parish, Louisiana, and not “just outside of Woodville” as the obituary says – the two are some 40 miles apart by road. Records also show that her father, Thomas, died in East Feliciana in May 1865, while she was still a baby. The family business there seems to have been a sugar plantation, for in the 1860 US Federal Census Thomas listed his occupation as “Sugar Planter” – in the 1850 census he was listed as “Farmer” and the registered ‘owner’ of 24 slaves.

By the time of the 1880 US Federal Census, the family had moved to Woodville, Mississippi (1e), where BMM, now aged 15, was living with her mother, her two sisters, and an elderly aunt. This was presumably at Hampton Hall, the plantation house which her mother had inherited in 1875, of which more later. In fact, in the census return her mother’s occupation is listed as “Planter” – presumably again of sugar cane.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the US Federal Census returns for 1890 were destroyed in a fire in 1921 and the next glimpse we get of BMM is from her passport application of June 1892. This, as indicated earlier, is the one which tells us that she was born in East Feliciana on 2 February 1865. It also tells us that at the time of her application she was living in Chicago; that she was an artist by profession; and that she was “about to go abroad temporarily” (no place specified), her intention being to return to the USA “this fall.” Unfortunately her passport application does not bear a photograph, though she tells us in writing that she is 5 feet 4½ inches tall; forehead medium; eyes dark blue; nose prominent; mouth large, chin small; hair dark brown; complexion fair; and face oval: make of that what you will.

Where exactly she went with that passport is unclear – possibly studying in London and Paris – before returning to the USA in 1893 (1a). Next, we know that in 1898 she married Milburg Francisco Mansfield, aka Francis Miltoun Mansfield, and better known under his abbreviated pen–name, Francis Miltoun. In November of that year, the couple were in London, for he applied for a passport there for himself and his wife for the purposes of travelling on the continent (no details given.) The application form tells us that he was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, on 14 February 1871; that his permanent address was in New York City; that he was a publisher by profession (M.F. Mansfield, of whom more later); that he had left the USA on 12 October 1898 and was currently residing at the Victoria Hotel, London; and that he was intending to return to the USA within 6 months. They must have returned to the USA, for in November 1899 they sailed from New York to London aboard the SS Marquette. They must then have returned to the USA, for we know that they were together in New York at the time of the 1900 US Federal Census. (Curiously, though the date of birth of her husband is given correctly, that of BMM is given incorrectly, as noted earlier, as January 1870, and the place of birth of both is incorrectly given as New York!)

After 1900 they are difficult to trace exactly, as they were travelling in Europe and writing a long sequence of popular travel books in the process, he under the pen–name of Francis Miltoun, she retaining her maiden name, Blanche McManus. Fig.1a is a typical newspaper advertisement for some of them from The Argus Leader (Sioux Falls, South Dakota) of 15 December 1911. But we shall have more to say about these books later. The couple were also, as the above obituary makes clear, moving around on account of her husband’s diplomatic work.

We know that in 1909 BMM and her sisters inherited the above–mentioned Hampton Hall, “an imposing two–and–one–half–storey plantation house surrounded by an informal garden” and with “a small cemetery northwest of the house” (2). Now a listed building, it is just outside Woodville, Mississippi, and it is presumably here that her obituary mistakenly says she was born. Given the above mention of a cemetery in the grounds, though, the obituary may well be correct in saying she was buried here. BMM’s mother, Joanna, had inherited Hampton Hall in 1875, and conveyed it to her three daughters in 1909. BMM is known to have decorated the parlour with murals, though these, unfortunately, have long disappeared. Interestingly, this account of the house tells us that, “In 1902 Mrs Mansfield was chosen to design and decorate the prayer book and altar cloths used at the coronation of King Edward VII.” This story – repeated in the Mississippi newspaper The McComb Daily Journal on 5 March 1940 (Fig.1b), which also gives us a view of the Hall – is clearly a variant on the story that she designed “the prayer book of the English church at the time of the celebration of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee in London in 1897”, as mentioned in her obituary. At the time of writing, I have been unable to find any confirmation that she designed such a prayer book for either Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee (3a) or the Coronation of Edward VII (3b), nor have I found any reference to a competition to secure the contract for doing the designs, but we shall return to this later.

Things now get a bit contradictory and confusing.

In September 1914 BMM registered as an American Citizen at the American Consulate in Paris. The registration form states that she had left the USA on 19 October 1912, and had arrived in Paris on 1 July 1914 for the purpose of “business, as authoress,” residing at 59 Boulevard Montparnasse. (Where she had been between leaving the USA in October 1912, and arriving in Paris in July 1914, is not known, but London is a possibility.) Her date of birth, as indicated earlier, is here given as 2 February 1864. The registration form makes it clear that her husband was in Barcelona, serving as the American Vice Consul–General there.

Also in September 1914, her husband applied to the American Ambassador at Madrid for an emergency passport to enable him to travel in Europe (again, no details given.) His permanent address in the USA is given as Woodville, Mississippi (ie Hampton Hall), but no date is given for when he was last in the USA.

In August 1915 BMM applied for another passport, at the American Embassy in Paris. This form, as indicated earlier, is one which tells us that she was born on 2 February 1864; that she had last left the USA on 15 October 1912 (not 19 October 1912?); that she was now living with her husband at 9 Rue Falguière, Paris; that she intended to return to the USA within two years for the purpose of visiting relatives; and that she needed the passport to live in France and to visit Spain, Italy and England for unspecified reasons of health. The space for her occupation has been left blank, though whether this was connected with her health is not known. This passport application also bears a photo of BMM, shown here as Fig.1c.

In September 1915 her husband also applied for yet another passport, again at the American Embassy in Paris. This form tells us that he had last left the USA on 20 June 1912 (not with BMM on 15 or 19 October ?); that he was residing at 9 Rue Falguière, Paris; that he intended to return to the USA within one year with the purpose of “attending to personal business”; and that he intended to use the passport to visit England, Italy and Spain “on commercial business.” This passport, too, bears a photo, shown here as Fig.1d.

In February 1917, at the American Embassy in Paris, BMM applied for another passport. In the application form her date of birth is again, as indicated earlier, given as 2 February 1864; her occupation is given as “illustrator”; she says that she last left the USA in 1912 (no precise date given); that she was temporarily residing at 9 Rue Falguière, Paris (as in 1915); that she needed the passport to visit England, Italy and Spain, as in 1915 but now for “professional work;” and that she intended to return to the USA within 2 years (as she said in 1915.)

Though the data is somewhat confusing, we at least get some indication of Francis M. Mansfield the diplomat, their residence in Paris, and their travel plans (though most of their joint travel books, of which more presently, had been published well before 1914.)

Her husband’s September 1919 application for a passport is perhaps the most informative. It tells us his legal domicile at that time was Woodville, Mississippi (Hampton Hall), but that his current temporary residence was 9 Rue Falguière, Paris (as in 1915); that he last left the USA in Spring 1913, arriving at Toulon, and that he was currently residing in Paris for the purpose of “newspaper work on behalf of Philadelphia Press, and personal literary work.” Then, at the end of the application form, he declares that he has resided outside the United States at the following places and for the following periods: France from 1903 to 1909; American Consular Agent, Toulon, France, from 1909 to 1913; American Vice–Consul Barcelona, Spain, from 1913 to 1915; Paris, France from 1915 to present. Given these dates, their statements as regards having last left the USA in 1912 / 1913, recorded in the above–mentioned passport applications, clearly refer to brief visits there, showing that they travelled back and forth with great frequency!

On 25 November 1922 the couple left Marseilles on board the SS Britannia, arriving in New York on 11 December. BMM’s place and date of birth are given as East Feliciana, 1869 – that false date again. Their address in the USA is again given as Woodville, Mississippi.

The next sighting of BMM – or at least of a Blanche Mansfield – is in the US Federal Census for 1930 as an inmate at the De Paul Sanatorium, New Orleans – an asylum. I say “a” Blanche Mansfield, for 17 of them show up in the 1930 Census, and none of them fits our artist exactly, though only this one is resident in New Orleans at the time of the Census, the city in which, according to her obituary, BMM both studied art and died, and so with which she did have some association. As regards the asylum inmate, her age is given as 70 (implying she was born in about 1860, which doesn’t fit at all) and her age at marriage as 29 (consistent with BMM’s marriage in 1898 and her fictitious year of birth, 1869.) Unfortunately, though, the census return gives only “United States” as the place of birth for each inmate, so we get no clarification there! Nevertheless, this is almost certainly BMM, for we already know from the obituary, quoted at the beginning of this article, that she “died at an infirmary in New Orleans” on 19 June 1935 (4a). Her death certificate, dated 20 June 1935, shows that this was in fact the De Paul Sanatorium, though whether she had been there continuously since 1930, or had had spells in and out of hospital, is not clear. The cause of death, incidentally, was heart disease.

Some of the details of her death certificate are every bit as puzzling as those in the US Federal Census for 1930. To begin with, her name is given as Blanche Walsh Mansfield and she “was married to M.F. Mansfield, a novel writer, and the daughter of John Walsh, a native of Mississippi.” Her husband, of course, did not write novels, but that is a minor detail in comparison with the mysterious John Walsh, for as we saw earlier, BMM’s father was Thomas McManus, who died when BMM was still a baby. Walsh was the married name of her sister Grace, but John Walsh wasn’t even the father of Grace’s husband, Scallan H. Walsh (1b) – his father’s name was Henry – so confusion cannot have come from that quarter, and how the name of Walsh came into the picture remains a mystery. The death certificate gives BMM’s age at death as 70, which is consistent with her being born on 2 February 1865, but then her age was given as 70 in the 1930 Census Return, so perhaps we cannot set much store by that. However, the death certificate does confirm that her “remains were shipped to Woodville, Mississippi” which is consistent with the obituary quoted at the beginning of this article.

Returning to that obituary, it is notable that BMM’s husband was not listed as attending her funeral service. Furthermore, when she was in the De Paul Sanatorium in 1930, it is not clear where he was, for he does not seem to feature anywhere in the 1930 US Federal Census. In fact, it seems, he was probably still in Paris.

The 1940 US Federal Census perhaps throws some light on this, for it lists not only where people lived at the time of the census, but also where they lived in 1935. Thus, Francis M. Mansfield, aged 68, born in Massachusetts, was resident in Paris in 1935 (so he is probably the right man), and he is listed at the time of the census as living in Ozona, Pinellas County, Florida with his wife, Ethel M. (sic) Mansfield, aged 60. She was born in England and was also resident in Paris in 1935. Unfortunately the census return does not tell us how long they had been married, but it rather looks as if BMM and her husband parted, and he re–married sometime after her death in 1935, presumably explaining why he wasn’t at the funeral. With BMM in the sanatorium in 1930, one then naturally wonders if her mental illness was the cause of, or was caused by, the separation from her husband. Recall, too, that she recorded health issues on her 1915 passport application, though whether there is any connection with the foregoing is unknown. But of course, all this is speculation, and nothing is known for sure. A short report in the Florida newspaper The Tampa Bay Times on 10 July 1942 tells us that Mrs Ethel Symonds (sic) Mansfield, wife of F.M. Mansfield, had died at her home in Ozona on 8 July. These two Ethel Mansfields could be reconciled if she was born Ethel M. Symonds, retaining her birth name as Ethel [M] Symonds Mansfield, though I have found no evidence for this.

Francis M. Mansield, however, certainly died in Pinellas County, Florida, on 24 July 1957. A brief obituary of him in The Tampa Bay Times on 25 July 1957 says that he died in a local hospital, that he came to Florida from New York City in 1940, that he was a retired author, and that he was survived by neither wife nor children.

The Rubaiyat Illustrations

In what follows F.4.12, for example, will mean quatrain 12 of FitzGerald’s 4th edition. “Potter” refers to Ambrose George Potter, A Bibliography of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (London, 1929) and “Coumans” to Jos Coumans, The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam: An Updated Bibiography (Leiden, 2010.)

BMM seems to have done two distinct sets of Rubaiyat illustrations, each set consisting of 12 drawings. It makes sense here to start with the most commonly encountered set – the black & white illustrations used in various editions published by the de la More Press of London (5a) from about 1901 onwards, notably in their St. George Series in the 1920s (Potter #114). The six examples shown here are taken from the 1925 St. George edition, the edition most commonly encountered today, and seemingly the last to be published. Illustrating FitzGerald’s first edition, they are shown here as Figs.2a (F.1.7), 2b (F.1.11), 2c (F.1.14), 2d (F.1.21), 2e (F.1.48) and 2f (F.1.75.) Mostly they are fairly literal and ‘obvious’ illustrations of their associated quatrains, though there are some interesting details. In Fig.2a, for example, the hovering ‘saki’ with ‘butterfly wings’ seems to be the Spirit of the Vine; Fig.2d shows those who have “crept silently to Rest” behind the Veil that separates the dead from the living; and in Fig.2e “the Angel with his darker Draught” has dotted ‘tendrils’ emanating from her (BMM’s Angel does seem to be female) and encompassing her ‘victim’ (perhaps a veil, cf. Fig.8d below.)

In addition to being used as simple black and white drawings, with or without decorative borders, as far back as 1901, they had also been used, but printed on a beige background, in a de la More edition of 1901 (Fig.3a), and with colour added, in in a de la More edition also published in 1901 (Fig.3b), in each case illustrating FitzGerald’s first edition, it is to be emphasised (Potter #6.) Incidentally, the editions from which Figs.3a & 3b are taken both share the same title page bearing another illustration by BMM (Fig.3c.) The coloured versions were also used in calendars published by the de la More Press.

The front cover of the 1902 calendar is shown in Fig.4a (cf. Fig.3c) with the pages for February in Fig.4b, May in Fig.4c, July in Fig.4d and November in Fig.4e. As can be seen, each month is assigned two quatrains from FitzGerald’s first edition, one of them being that associated with the illustration in the de la More edition pictured in Fig.2. That two quatrains can ‘fit’ the same illustration shows how easily these illustrations can also be adapted to fit different editions of FitzGerald, as we shall see.

The front cover of the 1903 calendar is shown in Fig.5a, and the order of the illustrations, month by month, being the same as in the 1902 calendar, it is only necessary to give one example here – February (Fig.5b) – to show the difference in page layout. Each illustration now has only one associated quatrain, the one from FitzGerald’s first edition later associated with the illustration in the de la More edition pictured in Fig.2.

[The illustrations can be browsed here.]

There was an amusing review of the 1902 calendar in The Sphere on 23 November 1901. It featured in Clement K. Shorter’s “Literary Letter” column, and is worth quoting in full:

Some months ago I headed this letter “Omar Khayyam Once More” and a correspondent remarked that he wished it were only once more. But what is one to do in the face of publishing enterprise ? Here, for example, is the De La More Press, at 52, High Holborn, a new firm, but as it seems to me well justifying its existence by a most beautiful reprint of FitzGerald’s first version of Omar Khayyam illustrated in colours by Blanche McManus. The type is superb, the illustrations exquisite, and all who are interested in the poem should expend five shillings on this beautiful book. The same firm sends me an Omar Khayyam Calendar for 1902. You have here a more or less appropriate motto for every month. It would not, however, be in England in the month of February that one would wish for “a loaf of bread beneath the bough” and I see that motto is thus given in the calendar. Miss McManus’s drawings are more in the spirit of the poem than any other that I know of with the exception of Mr. Gilbert James’s; that is to say, they are incomparably superior to Mr. Vedder’s.

The coloured de la More edition of The Rubaiyat, praised here by Shorter, is that noted in Potter #6, mentioned above.

The same drawings as shown in Fig.2 had also been used, printed in green ink, in an edition published by M.F. Mansfield and A. Wessels of New York in 1899 (cf. Potter ##233 & 234), but here used to illustrate FitzGerald’s fourth edition. In fact, this appears to be the earliest use of them (by BMM’s new publisher husband, note), so this seems to have been their original setting, the de la More editions being later adaptations to FitzGerald’s first edition. Thus Fig.6a (F.4.12) is the precursor of Fig.2b (F.1.11) and Fig.6b (F.4.101) the precursor of Fig.2f (F.1.75.) The transfer from 4th to 1st edition was not always smooth: Fig.6c (F.4.8) had no equivalent quatrain in FitzGerald’s first edition, so it was made to illustrate F.1.14 (Fig.2c), whose equivalent was actually F.4.16. But the fit was pretty neat, so probably most people didn’t notice. (Recall how easily two quatrains could be found to fit the same illustration in the de la More calendar of 1902.)

[The illustrations can be browsed here.]

Thus far BMM’s first set of 12 illustrations. The publishing firm of M.F. Mansfield, with or without Wessels, seems to have been active only from about 1897 to about 1901, after which, as we have seen, he and his wife took to travelling around Europe and North Africa, publishing their series of travel books, and fitting in his diplomatic work en route. Wessels alone did publish a Rubaiyat edition in 1900 (Potter #238) and another in 1908 (Potter #264; cf. Coumans #172 ?); Mansfield alone also published one in 1900 (Potter #239); and Mansfield & Wessels together published a Rubaiyat calendar for 1900 (Coumans #980), but I have never actually seen any of these.

At this point L.C. Page & Company of Boston enter the picture, both as (American) publishers of their travel books, and also of Rubaiyats, including calendars. They, of course, had published Nathan Haskell Dole’s Multi–Variorum edition of Omar in two volumes in 1897 & 1898, and were the American publishers of Edward Heron Allen’s facsimile of the Ousely Manuscript in 1898, and his Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam and their Original Persian Sources in 1899. They had also, in 1899, published Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam rendered into English Quatrains by Edward FitzGerald (Standard Edition of the Five Versions), illustrated by Gilbert James and Edmund H. Garrett (cf. Potter ##301 & 302.)

At the end of 1903, Page & Co. published a Rubaiyat calendar for 1904 with coloured illustrations by BMM (the earliest I have come across, to date, published by them.) Its front page is shown in Fig.7a, and, for comparison with the de la More calendars above, I show the pages for February (Fig.7b), May (Fig.7c), July (Fig.7d) and November (Fig.7e.) As can be seen these are different illustrations relating to the same quatrains from FitzGerald’s first edition as the de la More calendar for 1903. The only difference is that in the Page & Co. calendar BMM has illustrated F.1.4 in January and F.1.52 in September, whereas in the de la More calendar for 1903 she illustrated F.1.5 in January and F.1.46 in September. The important thing is that all the quatrains used in the Page & Co. calendar are from FitzGerald’s first edition. One wonders, therefore, if when Page & Co. came on the scene they commissioned BMM to do a new set of 12 illustrations (ie. BMM’s second set) specifically for FitzGerald’s first edition.

[The illustrations can be browsed here.]

One would expect, given the existence of this Page & Co. calendar printed in 1903, that they would have published, in the same year, an edition of The Rubaiyat which used the same coloured illustrations in association with same quatrains of FitzGerald’s first edition. But if they did, I have never seen a record of it, let alone seen an actual copy. Certainly there was a Page & Co. calendar for 1905 (Coumans #977), though, seemingly, no edition of The Rubaiyat still. There then comes a gap of two years during which I have seen no record of anything from Page & Co., be it calendars or Rubaiyat editions.

The next Page & Co. Rubaiyat venture is a very impressive volume – a successor to their 1899 James and Garrett edition, mentioned above. It seems first to have been published in 1907 (Potter #297), with a third impression appearing in 1909, and a fifth in 1919. Its title–page is shown in Fig.8a and as there indicated it features the whole of FitzGerald’s first, second and fifth editions (the pages of the last being headed “Third, Fourth & Fifth Editions.”) The twelve illustrations used in the 1904 calendar are all used in the book, but, presumably to avoid all the illustrations being bunched up in the first edition section, five were used with the first edition text, four with the second edition, and three with the fifth edition – the removal from their first edition context in the calendar being accomplished by associating them with their equivalent quatrains in the second or fifth editions. Thus Fig.8b, used as the frontispiece of the book, and formerly associated with February in the calendar (Fig.7b), stays with the first edition, and is captioned with a quote from quatrain F.1.11; Fig.8c, formerly illustrating F.1.72 in the calendar (May – Fig.7c), moves to the second edition with a caption from F.2.104; and Fig.8d, formerly illustrating F.1.48 in the calendar (November – Fig.7e), moves to the fifth edition with a caption from F.5.43.

[The illustrations can be browsed here.]

Incidentally, on the back of the title–page of this volume is a list of three copyright notices for L.C. Page & Co., with dates 1898, 1899 and 1903. The first two clearly relate to Potter ##301 & 302, but whether the 1903 notice refers to the above–mentioned calendar or to a ‘lost’ edition of The Rubaiyat published in that year is unclear.

The foregoing is, I’m afraid, a rather patchy view of the complex series of calendars and editions of The Rubaiyat published by the de la More Press in England and Page & Co. in America. It is based on copies in the collections of various Rubaiyat enthusiasts known to me, as well as on those in libraries and those recorded in the bibliographies of A.G. Potter and Jos Coumans. It is to be hoped that a clearer picture will emerge in due course, as more information comes in.

Before leaving The Rubaiyat it is worth noting that BMM designed the cover and end–papers of The Book of Omar and Rubaiyat, published in London & New York in 1900 by her husband, M. F. Mansfield as The Bankside Press; and likewise she designed the cover and end–papers of XXIV Quatrains from Omar set forth by F. York Powell, published and sold, in the same year, by M.F. Mansfield, New York.

It is also worth pointing out that in addition to first publishing The Rubaiyat in 1901, the de la More Press also published an edition of FitzGerald’s Six Dramas of Calderon in 1903, his Salaman and Absal in 1904, and his Polonius in 1905. The second of these contained 12 illustrations in black and white by BMM, in much the same style as her Rubaiyat illustrations.

Children’s Books

Some of BMM’s early illustrated books were for children, of which the following are merely a selection. One of the earliest was The True Mother Goose, subtitled “Songs for the Nursery; or Mother Goose’s Melodies for Children”, first published in 1896 by Lamson Wolffe & Co. of Boston, with a reprint done by A. Wessels Co. of New York in 1901, and another by T. Fisher Unwin of London in 1902. Virtually all of its 131 pages are profusely decorated with charming and ingenious illustrations, so many in fact that it is difficult to choose a small sample. I give here p.6–7 (Fig.9a), p.20–1 (Fig.9b) and p.94–5 (Fig.9c), with a recommendation to search the book out if you can. Incidentally, the book has a detailed Introduction – very definitely aimed at parents, not children! – covering the history of the compilation of the nursery rhymes contained within it.

Another children’s book illustrated by BMM was Told in the Twilight, subtitled “Stories to Tell Children”, first published by E.R. Herrick & Co. of New York in 1898 and by C. Arthur Pearson Ltd. of London in 1899. I give three examples of the seven full–page illustrations here – “The Dragon of Wantley” (facing p.36) in Fig.10a; “The Ugly Duckling” (facing p.45) in Fig.10b; and my personal favourite, “The Discontented Pendulum” (facing p.78) in Fig.10c.

In contrast with the foregoing, BMM’s illustrations of Lewis Carroll’s Alice stories are a bit of a disappointment, as most such tend to be when compared with Tenniel’s. The first edition seems to have been published by Mansfield and Wessels in 1899, after which numerous editions were to be reprinted – with Wonderland and Looking Glass separately or together; in black & white or in colour; in the USA and / or in England – in a sequence as bewildering as the various Rubaiyats. I give only three examples here, all episodes from Wonderland – the “Drink Me” in black & white (Fig.11a), and the “Mad Tea Party” (Fig.11b) and the “Lobster Quadrille” (Fig.11c) in colour. The parallel with the black & white and colour publication variants of The Rubaiyat is immediately apparent.

BMM was also an active participant in “The Little Cousin Series”, books designed to teach children geography and history via the lives of children living in other parts of the world. The series, published by L.C. Page & Co., Boston, eventually ran to over fifty titles, of which BMM wrote and illustrated eight between 1905 and 1911. Some of the illustrations are predictably stereotypical, but neat all the same. Thus Our Little English Cousin (1905) features a beefeater and a raven at the Tower of London (Fig.12a); Our Little Dutch Cousin (1906) features clogs and windmills (Fig.12b); and Our Little Egyptian Cousin (1908) features the pyramids and the sphinx (Fig.12c).

[The illustrations can be browsed here.]

Rudyard Kipling

The popularity of Kipling in America in the 1890s is puzzling, given his jingoistic promotion of Queen and Empire, and the fact that America had escaped the clutches of British Colonialism just over a century before. But whether it was simply the popular appeal of Kipling’s catchy and easy–to–understand verses, or whether there was some more obscure cultural and / or political reason (6a), popular he was, though not in all quarters: Harper’s famously declined to publish some of his work on the grounds that “this firm is devoted to the publication of literature” (6b).

M. F. Mansfield was clearly a fan, though, for in 1898 he published Collecteana: Being certain reprinted verses as written by Rudyard Kipling, and in the same year brought out editions of Kipling’s Departmental Ditties and Other Verses and of his Barrack Room Ballads and Verses. In 1899 Mansfield & Wessels published A Glossary to Accompany Departmental Ditties as written by Rudyard Kipling and also Kiplingiana: Biographical and Bibliographical Notes Anent Rudyard Kipling. In the same year they began to publish a journal, A Kipling Note Book, subtitled “Illustrations, Anecdotes, Bibliographical Facts Anent This Foremost Writer Of Fiction”, though it only ran to twelve issues, folding in 1900.

BMM contributed illustrations to both Departmental Ditties and Barrack Room Ballads, and one of my favourite illustrations from the latter is shown in Fig.13a, acompanying the opening lines of “Mandalay” (“By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin’ eastward to the sea, / There’s a Burma girl a settin’, an’ I know she thinks ’o me.”) In the same volume, of course, we meet the famous “Gunga Din”, pictured here in Fig.13b (“The uniform ’e wore / was nothin’ much before / An’ rather less than ’arf o’ that be’ind.”)

Though Mansfield published collections of Kipling’s verses, he also, with Wessels, published limited editions of single poems, of which “Mandalay” was one, published in 1899. This too was illustrated by BMM, but with line drawings whose detail is not always clear on account of them being printed in orange ink – two examples, with their accompanying text, are shown in Figs.14a & 14b.

Figs.13a & 14b raise the next issue in regard to Kipling’s verses – what would now be decried as his sexist (and racist) view of women, as epitomised by “The Ladies”, first published in The Seven Seas in 1896. Here a versifying soldier gives an account of his love life in India and Burma, as well as back in England, telling his readers that “the things you will learn from the Yellow an’ Brown / They’ll ’elp you a lot with the White”, and rounding off with “the Colonel’s Lady an’ Judy O’Grady / Are sisters under their skins!” With sentiments like that it is surprising that Kipling had any female fans at all, and yet he did. In a magazine survey, many of them weren’t sure why they liked his verses; some admired his “virility”; and one even thought that Kipling understood women better than most men (6c)! Indeed, when Kipling was told that women didn’t like him, his response was that, nevertheless, “They read me.” (6d)

Whether BMM was a fan or not, is not clear but the fact is that she illustrated Kipling’s poem, “The Betrothed”, extracted from Departmental Ditties and published, like “Mandalay”, in a limited edition by Mansfield & Wessels in 1899. Here the versifier compares the relative merits of women and cigars, coming to the conclusion that “a woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a Smoke.” I give two examples of BMM’s illustrations here (unfortunately again in orange ink), together with some accompanying text, as Figs.15a & 15b.

Curiously, she also illustrated Bachelor Ballads, subtitled “Being Certain of the Masterpieces of Verse; Wherein is Set Forth the Sentiment of Good–Fellowship, set to Pictures by Blanche McManus”, published by the New Amsterdam Book Company, New York, in 1898. (Why not Mansfield, with or without Wessels, is not clear.) The verses therein were by various authors, including Kipling’s “The Betrothed”, BMM’s illustration for which (again in orange ink!) is shown, with its caption, in Fig.16a. A second example, without caption, illustrating “How Stands the Glass Around ?”, by that famous author Anonymous, is shown in Fig.16b.

Inevitably one wonders if BMM was compliant to male ‘superiority’ (not all women were suffragettes, remember, and many objected to the movement) or whether she was cocking a snook at the ‘virile, superior male’ (as he saw it.) Or again it is possible that she, and other women, found a wry humour in Kipling’s poem “The Vampire” – the vampire being the woman who, after attracting a man, heedlessly proceeds to ruin him, and then leaves him (7). M.F. Mansfield published a limited edition of it in New York in 1898, the rather crudely drawn bat adorning its front cover and end–papers being by BMM.

One other limited edition of a Kipling poem published by Mansfield and Wessels in 1899, and illustrated by BMM, deserves to be mentioned. This was Recessional: a Victorian Ode by Rudyard Kipling. The poem was originally commissioned to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897, and first published in The Times in London on 17 July of that year. It was unusual for Kipling, for although he was still in Queen and Empire mode – the English are God’s Chosen People with “Dominion over palm and pine” – he now sounded a cautionary note (“Lest we forget”) – for that dominion may crumble, and the British Empire end like “Nineveh and Tyre”, defunct. Military might is represented by BMM in in Fig.17a and naval might in Fig.17b.

[The illustrations can be browsed here.]

Travel Books.

Between 1903 and 1910 BMM and her husband wrote some fifteen travel books for L.C. Page & Co., of Boston, many being simultaneously published in England. Clearly here we can do little more than dip into these, the emphasis being on BMM’s illustrations.

The first in the series seems to have been The Cathedrals of Northern France first published by Page & Co. in 1903. Fig.18a shows Notre Dame de Chartres; Fig.18b shows Notre Dame de Reims; and Fig.18c shows the Cathedral of St. Maurice d’Angers, these being three out of over forty such in the book. This was followed in 1904 by The Cathedrals of Southern France; in 1905 by Rambles in Brittany and Rambles in Normandy; in 1906 by Rambles on the Riviera and Castles and Chateaux of Old Tourane and the Loire Country; and in 1907 by Castles and Chateaux of Old Navarre and the Basque Provinces. Given the writing and illustrating of so many books in such a relatively short space of time, one wonders how they did it and if they cut any corners in the process. The following review of an edition of Rambles in Brittany published in England featured in The Morning Post on 30 May 1906:

Mr Francis Miltoun is not so pleasing in his “Rambles in Brittany” (Duckworth & Co., 6s net) as he was in his book on Normandy. There is less intimacy with present–day life, he depends more on the historian of the past for his facts. In dealing with Quimperlé he makes curious mistakes. It is the Isole that runs between the older part of the town and the new; the Ellé finds its way round the outside of the ancient “ville” and joins its sister river just below the “Ancien Pigeonnier de l’Abbaye”, in forming the Laita, a stream not mentioned by Mr Miltoun. At Pont Aven he evidently made few investigations outside the Hôtel Julia, or he would have found that cider may yet be purchased at four sous a litre. And if he had frequented the little “buvettes,” he would have met with the Breton in all his pride of birth. One night in the dim light of such a picturesque interior a burly fisherman who had visited many lands said to the present writer: “J’aime tout the mond – les Français, les Anglais, les Italiens – même les Allemands, mais j’aime mieux les Bretons.” It is living touches that make a book of travel delightful and instructive. Past history may be consulted in any library or school–book. The drawings by Miss Blanche McManus have small artistic appeal. The decorations inside the covers are by far her best efforts.

I wouldn’t go as far as that in respect of BMM’s illustrations. Though her depiction of the Stones of Carnac (Fig.19a) is indeed a bit a daub, her illustrations for Pont Aven (Fig.19b) and Laval (Fig.19c), for example, do have charm.

During the time BMM and her husband were working on these books, of course, cars were still a novelty, but becoming increasingly common in touring, both inside the UK and on the Continent. Cashing in on this trend, in 1907 L.C. Page & Co. published their book The Automobilist Abroad – Figs.20a, 20b & 20c require no explanation. In 1909 Page & Co. also published their Italian Highways and Byways from a Motor Car, BMM’s illustrations being much as in their earlier books, but with the occasional car in view – Fig.21a is the frontispiece, and Figs.21b & 21c two typical scenes. It is interesting, too, that in 1911 Dodd Mead & Co. of New York published The American Woman Abroad, “written and profusely illustrated by Blanche McManus.” It contained chapters like “The Lone Woman Traveller”, “Clothes and the Woman”, “The Woman Traveller and the French Café” and, of course, “The Woman and the Car.” I give two delightful illustrations of tourist dining–out at that time (Figs.22a & 22b.)

It is not my intention to cover magazine articles written by BMM, but it is worth mentioning here that her account of women being able to visit the Monte Carlo Casino “without male escort”, given in chapter 11 of The American Woman Abroad, was an abridgement of an article “Monte Carlo from the Woman’s Point of View,” which she wrote with Isabel Floyd–Jones (8), and which was published in the English magazine, The Bystander, on 19 January 1910. This article described in great detail the two women’s unaccompanied venture into the Casino there, their flutter at the roulette wheel (playing “the simple rouge et noir the least fatiguing play for inexperienced females”), and their leaving the Casino twenty francs in profit. BMM and her companion, then, were quite liberated women for their time, which makes one wonder again what appeal the sexist verses of Kipling could have had for BMM.

Back–tracking slightly, it is also worth noting that BMM and her husband travelled in North Africa. Page & Co. published their book In the Land of Mosques and Minarets in 1908. I give three examples of BMM’s illustrations here – Fig.23a, the frontispiece, a nice example of her portraiture; Fig.23b a sample of her black & white scenic illustrations; and Fig.23c, a nice example of her colour scenic illustrations.

In the 1920s Page & Co., with or without the Mansfields’ co–operation, seem to have recycled some of their early travel books, The Spell of Algeria and Tunisia appearing in 1924, The Spell of Normandy in 1925 and The Spell of Brittany in 1927.

An oddity worthy of mention here is My Log Book, “arranged with decorations by Blanche McManus.” The only copy I have seen of this book is the one in the British Library, published by R. Brimley Johnson, London, in 1902. As its title suggests this is a sort of diary to be taken on a cruise, and in which a passenger could record the day to day events of the voyage, both outward bound and inward bound. Fig.24 shows the Contents Page, with one of BMM’s nautical decorations. Left hand pages of both outward and homeward bound are blank for the owner’s “Notes and Autographs,” and right hand pages display poetical quotes relating to the sea and sea–travel. The “Nautical Notes and Miscellanies” contain a page in which the traveller can record the names of the ship’s officers and crew; another to record the seating plan at dinner; notes on the mariner’s compass; notes on flags and signals; and a lengthy section on “Nautical Vocabulary”, some of which is obscure (“Cat’s Paw: A light puff of wind”), and some of which is obvious to say the least (“Deck: Covering or floor to a ship.”)

[The illustrations can be browsed here.]

Some Odds and Ends

BMM illustrated and / or decorated some sixty books in all, of which the ones mentioned here are merely a representative sample. Among the children’s books not mentioned are Isaac Watts’s Childhood’s Songs of Long Ago and Emily D. Elton’s A Mince–Pie Dream – A Book of Children’s Verse both published by E.R. Herrick, New York, in 1897.

In the same vein as the male drinking songs in Bachelor Ballads (eg. Fig.16b), BMM also provided a neat vines with wine–bottle illustration / decoration (Fig.25) for use with each verse of A Canticle of Wine – Or, The Drinking Song of Walter de Mapes, Scholar and Satirist, Archdeacon of Oxford in the Reign of Richard Coeur de Lion and of John, a metrical translation by Robert W. Arnot, in parallel with the original Latin text, printed and published by M.F. Mansfield, New York, 1898. Interestingly, this can be regarded as a parallel for Omar as much as, if not more than, a male drinking song.

On a different poetical front, BMM provided rubricated initial letters and decorations for an edition of Tennyson’s Crossing the Bar, published by E.R. Herrick & Co., New York (1898) and she provided rubricated initial letters for an edition of Tennyson’s In Memoriam: A.H.H. “published by the Bankside Press, London and sold by M.F. Mansfield, New York” (1899).

In 1902 R. Brimley Johnson of London published the “Hampshire Edition” of the six principal novels of Jane Austen, for each of which BMM designed the end papers. As the Publisher’s Preface to each volume tells us, BMM illustrated the front end papers of each novel with an old style map of the county or town in which the novel was set, and the back end papers a map of the particular neighbourhood in which the principal characters lived. The latter, being frequently fictional, had to be laboriously constructed from the novelist’s descriptions of them, so it would be interesting to know how convincing the fans of Jane Austen found them! (Incidentally, a number of her illustrations in the travel books she wrote with her husband were maps, city plans, and such like.)

As regards calendars, BMM, in addition to her Rubaiyat Calendars, produced a Smoker’s Calendar for 1904 and a Dante Calendar for 1905, both published by the de la More Press, but with parallel American editions published by L.C. Page & Co. Figs.26a & 26b are taken from the Page & Co. Smoker’s Calendar for 1905 (facing pages for January.)

Earlier mention was made of BMM winning a competition to design a prayer book, for the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897 according to some, or for the Coronation of Edward VII in 1902 according to others. Though I have seen nothing to support either claim, she certainly illustrated The Altar Service Book published by the de la More Press in 1903 (5b). She is not named on the title–page (Fig.27a), only in the colophon (Fig.27e.) Three examples of the woodcuts are shown here: the Nativity of Christ (Fig.27b); the Crucifixion (Fig.27c); and the Annunciation of the Virgin Mary (Fig.27d.) Given that there are some 25 such pages in the book, a huge amount of work and devotion to detail must have gone into it. It is a pity that we do not know anything about BMM’s religious beliefs, aside from the indications of an Episcopal background in her obituary and in relation to her christening (1d), for which The Book of Common Prayer would have been central. But such work does not necessarily betoken belief, and her interest may possibly have been in Christian Iconography, an appreciation of which must surely have been fostered when she visited so many churches and cathedrals on her tours round Europe with her husband.

[The illustrations can be browsed here.]


Note 1a: See, for example, Peter H. Falk, Who was Who in American Art (1985), p.393 (under Mansfield) and Chris Petteys, Dictionary of Women Artists (1985), p.465. Online see, for example, This source tells us that BMM “studied in London and Paris, and returned to the US in 1893.” The sources cited in notes (4b) & (4c) below also give her year of birth as 1870.

Note 1b: Joanna McManus was born in 1829 and died in 1915; Verona was born in 1852, lived with her mother up until the latter’s death, and died in 1927; Grace was born in 1860, married Scallan H. Walsh in 1882 (he died in 1909), and lived on as Grace Walsh (as in BMM’s obituary) until her death in 1944.

Note 1c: The McManus family were enumerated for the US Federal Census of 1870 on 14 July of that year, so if she was born on 2 February 1865 she would have been 5 years old on 2 February 1870, and so her “Age Last Birthday” would indeed have been 5, as recorded by the Census enumerator. Her birth on 2 February 1865 is similarly implied by the “Age Last Birthday” of 15 given in the US Federal Census of 1880, which was enumerated in June of that year.

Note 1d: The most useful and well documented site relating to BMM and her family is:, run by Jamie Lee McManus Mayhew. It is this site which says that BMM “was christened at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Jackson on September 15, 1864”. The church itself no longer exists, but I was able to contact Michael F. Howell, for many years a lay reader associated with it. He told me in a personal email that:

I did extensive research into ... St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, which began meeting in Jackson, in 1853. I looked through everything available on St. Alban’s Church in the Episcopal cathedral’s archives in New Orleans. The only parish records for St. Albans held there were from the 1940s & early 1950s. Regrettably, the annual diocesan reports published from the 19th Century only provide the numbers of baptisms for each parish, no names.

Note 1e: In the 1880 Census the page on which the family is listed is headed “Beat no.1 in the County of Wilkinson.” For the administration of the Census, each county of Mississippi was subdivided into regions known as “Beats”, Wilkinson County being divided into five such, Woodville being in Beat 1.

Note 2:

Note 3a: The closest fit was perhaps The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Prayer Book: Issued to Commemorate the Sixtieth Year of the Reign of Her Most Gracious Majesty Queen Victoria (Oxford University Press, 1897) but there is no mention of BMM in it, and its plates appear to be photographs of old religious paintings. In fact, David N. Griffiths, The Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer 1549–1999 (London, 2002), lists no less than 12 prayer books published in 1897, three of them in / for America, but there is no mention of BMM in connection with any of them. The above mentioned closest fit was Griffiths 1897 no.2.

Note 3b: The closest fit was perhaps The Prayer Book of King Edward VII printed by Essex House Press and published by Eyre & Spottiswood in 1903 (or at least, dated 1903), a year after the Coronation, but it was certainly designed and illustrated by Charles Robert Ashbee. In fact, Griffiths (as in note 3a) lists 21 prayer books published in 1902, and 10 in 1903 (no.10 of which was published for America), but there is no mention of BMM in connection with any of them. The above mentioned closest fit is Griffiths 1904 no.1, its actual publication date being the year after the date on the spine of the book.

Note 4a: It is perhaps worth pointing out that there are some curious data anomalies ‘out there’ – worth pointing out because some people reading this may come upon them and wonder why I have missed them out, or what they signify.

Thus, on 6 July 1935, some two weeks after BMM’s death in New Orleans, a Blanche M. Mansfield was listed among the British passengers sailing from Southampton to New York aboard the Pennland. She travelled alone, her last address in the UK being given as 19 Draycott Place [London] SW3. Her age is given as 70, her occupation as housekeeper, and her country of intended future residence as Australia. This has to be a coincidence of names, despite the London connection and the correct age for BMM, but it is not the only oddity.

In the Florida State Population Census of 1945, in Pinellas County, we find Francis M. Mansfield, aged 72, author, born in Massachusetts, living with Blanche Mansfield, aged 66 (thus born c.1879), housewife, born in Connecticut. Though his place of birth and occupation match our Francis M. Mansfield, his age would have been 74, and aside from being supposedly dead in 1935, BMM would have been 81 in 1945 if born in 1864, 80 if born in 1865, and 75 if born in 1870; plus she was born in Louisiana, not Connecticut. Quite what is going on here in unclear at the time of writing. Certainly Blanche Mansfield is (like Blanche McManus) a surprisingly common name, but to find one linked to what seems to be ‘our’ Francis M. Mansfield like this, is very strange, the more so since a search of the whole US Federal Census Collection for a Blanche Mansfield born in Connecticut in c. 1879 yields no results at all! It is perhaps on account of this confusion of data that some sources give BMM’s date of death as “unknown” (4b), and one source even has her living at 9 Rue Falguière in Paris in 1945 (4c)!

Note 4b: For example, the following, linked to a family tree for her husband: (For some reason this family tree does not include F.M. Mansfield’s second marriage.) The source cited in note 4c below also gives BMM’s date of death as “unknown”.

Note 4c:

Note 5a: The de la More Press was founded by Alexander Moring. Little being on record about him, it seems appropriate to include some brief details here.

He was born in London in 1869, the son of a seal engraver Thomas Moring and his wife Jane, and seems to have lived his whole life in the city. By the time of the 1891 census he is listed as a seal engraver’s assistant, presumably working with his mother, who is listed as a seal engraver. (His father had died in 1884.)

In 1898 he married Mary Adelaide Bohné, and in 1900 they had a son, Thomas Dunsford Moring, who, sadly, died when only 6 months old. In 1904 they had another son, Reginald Alexander Moring. In the 1901 census, Alexander Moring is listed as a printer and engraver, and it is around this time that he branched out into printing and publishing, for it is in this year that the first de la More Press edition of The Rubaiyat appeared. The 1911 Census lists him simply as “Publisher (Books).” In the 1939 Register he is listed still as “Publisher (Book)”; his wife is listed as “married woman, authore(ss ?) under pen–name WAR SERV (???)” (the question marks denote text hidden by the tight binding of the volume); and their son is listed as “Metropolitan Police (War Reserve).”

Alexander Moring died in London in 1945, though the de la More Press continued to publish, certainly up to 1952, in which year The Story of the Willow Pattern Plate and The Epicure’s Monthly Companion appeared. Notably for readers of this, in 1950 the de la More Press had published an edition of J.C.E. Bowen’s Poems from the Persian.

Who ran the firm after Alexander Moring’s death is not clear, but in 1955 the Alexander Moring imprint was taken over by the somewhat dubious character, Reginald Herbert Carter. Under his management, in the 1950s and 1960s, the firm of “Alexander Moring” churned out a huge amount of pulp fiction, much of it consisting of the lurid novels of Hank Janson (the pen–name of Stephen Daniel Frances), invariably bound in lurid covers depicting glamorous young women in various stages of undress. Titles like Avenging Nymph, Sugar and Vice, Hell of a Dame and This Hood for Hire, are typical of the series, which sold literally millions of copies. It was a sad end for what had once been the de la More Press.

Note 5b: This does not seem to appear in David N. Griffiths, The Bibliography of the Book of Common Prayer 1549–1999 (London, 2002), though it is clearly related to his 1903 no.7, which makes no mention of any illustrations, by BMM or otherwise. Also in 1903, the de la More Press published an edition of The Communion Service according to the use of the Church of England (Griffiths 1903 no.6) and an edition of The First Prayer Book of King Edward VI, this being a reprint “verbatim et literatim” of what was the first English Book of Common Prayer, published in 1549 (Griffiths 1903 no.8.) The former used the same illustrations by BMM as The Altar Service Book. Whether these books tell us anything about Alexander Moring’s own religious beliefs or whether they were published simply as high quality limited editions, is not clear.

Note 6a: Peter Keating, Kipling the Poet (1994) p.95–6. Keating wonders if it was the Americans’ realisation of their emerging power and influence in the 1890s that led, to some extent, to the appeal of Kipling’s gung–ho verses: that America, along with Britain, were God’s Chosen People, sharing in “The White Man's Burden” – bringing civilisation to the uncivilised countries of the world. This, at least, was Kipling’s view and wish. Keating cites America’s annexation of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines in 1898 as indicative of an American form of imperialism of which Kipling approved (p.118.) It may or may not be coincidence that Mansfield & Wessels published the bulk of their Kipling material in 1898–9.

Note 6b: Hilton Brown, Rudyard Kipling – A New Appreciation (1945) p.35.

Note 6c: Hilton Brown, p.140–1. The survey was done in the English magazine TP’s Weekly, and though Brown doesn’t give dates, it must have been in the early years of the twentieth century. (The magazine was founded in 1902 and ran up to 1916.)

Note 6d: Bailey Millard, “Why Women Dislike Kipling” in The Bookman, November 1914, p.328ff. As Millard notes:

So when we say that women dislike Kipling we all know that, like him or lump him, they are ever ready to lend him an attentive ear. Besides there are many women who, while they laugh at his prejudices, are willing because of his genius, to make allowances for them – allowances they never would make in the case of a lesser writer.

Note 7: The poem was originally written to accompany the catalogue entry for “The Vampire”, a painting by Philip Burne–Jones, which was exhibited at the New Gallery, London, in April 1897. It depicted a vampire woman leaning over her unconscious male victim – the sort of image one associates with modern vampire movies – and so Kipling’s poem was effectively a very free interpretation of the painting. The artist was Kipling’s cousin, and the son of the Pre–Raphaelite artist, Edward Burne–Jones. After being published in the English newspaper The Daily Mail on 17 April 1897, the poem was reprinted in The New York Tribune on 9 May of that same year, which is quite possibly where Mansfield took it from. Mansfield’s edition had a (charcoal ?) drawing, closely modelled on the painting, as its frontispiece.

Note 8: Isabel Helen Floyd–Jones (1886–1967) came from a well–to–do American ‘Society’ family. Some 20 years younger than BMM, her age was actually queried at the Monte Carlo Casino (the minimum age for entry to which was 18.) In 1911 she married a Consultant Engineer, Russell Compton Jones, thus becoming Mrs Floyd–Jones Jones. The marriage was reported in The New York Times on 11 July, and it is this which tells us that “the bride was educated in Paris, where she is well known. She had been doing literary work in New York for the last few years.” Whether BMM met her in Paris or New York, though, is not clear. As examples of Floyd–Jones’s literary output, she published various articles in the New York literary journal, The Bookman: “Gounod’s Villa at St. Raphael” (June 1909), “The Pont d’Avignon” (October 1909) and “The True Story of Carmen” (October 1910.) She and BMM collaborated on an article “Artists’ Sketching Grounds on the Riviera” published in the English “Lady’s Newspaper”, The Queen, on 15 January 1910 and BMM, alone this time, authored another article in the same vein, “Artists’ Sketching Grounds in Brittany,” in the same publication on 17 August 1912.



I must thank Joe Howard, Sandra Mason & Bill Martin, Roger Paas, Jos Coumans and Fred Diba for supplying details and scans of the various BMM Rubaiyats in their respective collections; for their proof–reading; and for the various helpful suggestions they have made along the way. I must thank Joe, in particular, for obtaining for me a copy of BMM’s death certificate. I must also thank Andy Lewis, Publisher of The Woodville Republican for supplying a copy of BMM’s obituary; Michael F. Howell, former Senior Warden and Lay Reader of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, Jackson, Louisiana, for the information used in note 1d, and likewise Jamie Lee McManus Mayhew for information also cited in note 1d.


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