Mary Jeune, Baroness St Helier

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Susan Elizabeth Mary Jeune, Baroness St Helier, DBE (c. 1845 – 25 January 1931) was a London County Council alderman and the wife of Francis Jeune, 1st Baron St Helier.

Background

Susan Elizabeth Mary Stewart-Mackenzie was born in Munich circa 1845, daughter of Keith William Stewart-Mackenzie, of Brahan Castle in the northern Highlands of Scotland, and his wife, Hannah Charlotte (née Hope-Vere).

Personal life

Mrs. Augustus Allusen (Osma Mary Dorothy Stanley), John Singer Sargent, 1907

She was married, firstly, to Colonel John Constantine Stanley (30 September 1837 — 23 April 1878), son of Edward Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley and Henrietta Maria (née Dillon-Lee), on 15 August 1871. By this marriage she had two daughters:

  • Madeline Cecilia Carlyle Stanley (2 July 1876 - 2 June 1966), who was married in 1903 (as his second wife) to St John Brodrick
  • Osma Mary Dorothy Stanley (1877 — 6 October 1965), who was married to Henry Eden Allhusen, JP, DL, of Stoke Court in Buckinghamshire.

She married, secondly, Francis Jeune, later Baron St Helier, on 17 August 1881. Their only child, a son, Francis Jeune, was born in 1882. He died of enteric fever in Poona, India on 19 August 1904. An indefatigable London hostess, she was a friend of many of the celebrities of her day – among them the American novelist Edith Wharton, who mentions her with affection in her memoir 'A Backward Glance' (Chapter 10). During World War I, Lady St. Helier befriended a Canadian cavalry officer named William Avery Bishop and used her connections to speed his acceptance into flight school. Bishop went on to become one of the most successful and revered fighter pilots of all time.[1]

Career

Lady St Helier was a London County Council alderman from 1910 to 1927. She was a very involved philanthropist and also wrote at least 50 periodical essays, which challenge the idea that Victorian middle and upper-middle class women were not capable of serious nonfiction writing.[1]

Some of her essays have been republished, including "The Revolt of Daughters" (1894) in A New Woman Reader (2001).[2] In 1909, she published a book, Memories of Fifty Years.[1][2][3][4]

She was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1920 and elevated to Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 1925.

Portrayal in Media

Lady St Helier appears as a character in the Canadian stage musical Billy Bishop Goes to War.[citation needed]

Death

Lady St Helier died on 25 January 1931, aged 85, of unknown causes. The estate of St. Helier, London was named after her.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ a b c Davis, William A. (1 April 2015). "Mary Jeune, Late-Victorian Essayist: Fallen Women, New Women, and Poor Children". English Literature in Transition, 1880-1920. 58 (2): 180–208. 
  2. ^ a b Nelson, Carolyn Christensen (2001). A new woman reader: fiction, articles, and drama of the 1890s. Peterborough, Ont.: Broadview Press. ISBN 1551112957. 
  3. ^ St. Helier, Main Author: St. Helier, Susan Mary Elizabeth Stewart-Mackenzie Jeune (1909). Memories of fifty years. London: E. Arnold: E. Arnold. Retrieved 19 October 2016. 
  4. ^ Stewart-Mackenzie, Lady Jeune, Susan Mary Elizabeth (1 October 1916). "Kitchener–England's man of iron". Haper's Bazaar: 641–50. 
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