Wednesday, 2 May 2018

The Marriage of Esmé Borlase Schiff

The tension between the two branches of the Schiff family, the Lowndes Squares and the Brook Streets, is well known and still remembered. It reflects the very real differences in personality and lifestyle between the brothers Charles and Alfred Schiff, and their descendants, and the hurt that was caused by Sidney Schiff's books. This is reflected also in the account entitled 'The Family Gathering' that was written by Esmé Schiff, Alfred's granddaughter.

Yesterday I obtained a copy of Esmé Schiff's marriage certificate, which is worthy of close scrutiny, as it indicates that the two branches of the family were still 'friends', so to speak, though 'The Family Gathering' was probably written four years after Esmé's wedding. It is the names of the witnesses to Esmé's wedding that are interesting.
Firstly is Douglas Arden, who may possibly be identified as the Douglas Arden (1844–1930) who inherited East Burnham House in Buckinghamshire.

Arden, Douglas (1844-1930) of East Burnham House (Bucks). Second son of Richard Edward Arden (1804-94) and his second wife, Mary, daughter of John Douglas Finney, born 8 August and baptised 24 November 1844. Educated at Harrow, 1859-61, Pembroke College, Oxford (matriculated 1862) and the Inner Temple (admitted 1864; called to bar 1867). Barrister-at-law on south-eastern circuit; JP for Buckinghamshire. He married, 23 April 1872 at Halton Holgate (Lincs), Emily Margaret (1846-1903), daughter of Rev. Robert Drummond Burrell Rawnsley of Halton Holgate and sister of Canon Hardwicke Rawnsley, one of the founders of the National Trust, and had issue:(1) Ana Margaret Arden (b. & d. 1873), baptised at Burnham, 23 January 1873 and buried there, 25 January 1873;(2) Dorothy Catherine Mary Arden (1874-1949), born 10 June and baptised at St Peter, Cranley Gardens, Kensington (Middx), 28 July 1874; married, Oct-Dec. 1918, Edward Awdry Short (1874-1946) but had no issue; died 4 September 1949; will proved 25 November 1949 (estate £177,399);(3) Edward Franklin Douglas Arden (1876-1908), baptised at Burnham, 1 May 1876; married 1st, 1898, Virginia Constance (d. 1901), daughter of Hon. Sir James Martin of Sydney (Australia) and had issue two sons and one daughter; married 2nd, 1903, Joan Mary Ursula S. (b. c.1882), daughter of Lt-Col. George A. Cox of The Close, Salisbury; staying at a nursing home in Chelsea, 1901; sailed (alone) to Sydney, 1906 and died there, 11 June 1908; will proved 14 January 1909 (estate in England £112).He inherited East Burnham House from his father in 1894. He inherited Pontfaen jointly with two of his sisters from his elder brother in 1909, and also Sunbury Park.He died 18 January 1930; will proved 7 July 1931 (estate £112,795); his wife died 16 February 1903; administration of her goods was granted 16 March 1903 (estate £2,659).

I cannot so far discover the reason for any connection to Douglas Arden, though it seems likely he was godfather or best man to the groom.

The second witness was Rosa Cooke, the bridegroom's elderly mother. Born in 1852, as Sarah Rosa Mackenzie, she died just six months after the wedding.

The next two witness were E. C. Schiff and Mary B. Schiff, the first being the widow of Alfred's son Ernest Wilton Schiff. She was born Emma Clementine Borlase in New Zealand. Mary Birch Schiff was the widow of Charles Schiff. We know that Emma Schiff remained close to the 'Lowndes Squares', being in sympathy with their lifestyle and mores. One member of the Lowndes Squares wrote in 2004 about Emma that "She married young to a Col. Cooke, to get away from her impossible mother, who was cold, selfish, and lesbian: for years she had a 'companion' called Mollie Naylor, who was equally unpleasant." The penny has just dropped for me that this Mollie was no other than Mary Gilliat Naylor, the fifth witness on the certificate, about whom there is considerable information below. Emma was born in 1871 and Mary in 1889. Emma died in 1959 and Mary in 1962.

Emma Clementine Schiff née Borlase

Believed to be Esmé Schiff

The next witness is indeed interesting; she is Mary Gilliat Naylor, an American who was naturalised as British on 13th July 1925 and whose address was given as being 15, Sloane Court. This was also Emma and her daughter Esmé's address at the time of her marriage.

Mary Gilliat Naylor
 Engaged to the wealthy Louis Ream, she was jilted by him, and did not subsequently marry.

Eleanor’s Pursuit: The Marital Misadventure of 1911 That Triggered ...

By H. Thomas Howell

Mary Gilliat Naylor 
Born 2 Jan 1889 in München, Oberbayern, Bavaria, GermanyDaughter of George Prentice Naylor and Sarah (Duncan) Naylor 
BiographyBirthdate and birthplace from her father's passport application.She lived in Germany from her birth until July 1889.[1] She lived in France, Switzerland, Germany from July 1889 to 1897, at which point she returned to the USA.[1] She lived in Germany 1904 to 1906.[1]On 14 Apr 1910, The New York Times published a notice of her engagement to Louis Marshall Ream, the playboy son of Norman B. Ream one of the 25 richest men in the USA.[2] The Chicago Tribune followed with a similar announcement 10 days later. [3] The marriage didn't take place, and Louis eloped with actress Eleanor Pendleton the following year.She lived in England from 1912, with one trip to visit the USA in 1915.[1]In 1924, she wrote in her passport application, "I was born in Germany, where my father was American Vice-Consul. Later I attended school in Switzerland, Italy and Germany. Since 1912, I have been residing in England with my guardian, who is a British subject."[4]On 13 Jul 1925 she swore an Oath of Allegiance to Great Britain and was naturalized as a British citizen.[5]She was "a spinster" when she died 14 Dec 1962 at Barnwood House Hospital in Barnwood, Gloucester, England.[6][7] 
Sources1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3, "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925", Emergency Passport Applications, Argentina thru Venezuela, 1906-1925, 1921-1922, Volume 176: Great Britain, passport application with the American consulate in London, issued 30 Jun 1922. 
2. Engagement notice "Miss Naylor to Wed L.M. Ream" in The New York Times (New York, New York), 14 Apr 1910, Page 11. 
3. Engagement announcement of Mary Gilliat Naylor & Louis Marshall Ream in Chicago Tribune(Chicago, Illinois), 24 Apr 1910, Page 21. 
4., "U.S. Passport Applications, 1795-1925" Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 1924, Roll 2609 - Certificates: 461850-462349, 23 Jul 1924-24 Jul 1924, passport applicationwith the American consulate in London, issued 17 Jun 1924. 
5. The London Gazette, number 33073, published 7 Aug 1925, page 5280   
6. Howell, H. Thomas, Eleanor’s Pursuit: The Marital Misadventure of 1911 That Triggered Sensational Headlines and a High-Stakes Courtroom Battle Bloomington, Indiana: Archway, 2014. Footnote 117.
7. "England and Wales Death Registration Index 1837-2007," database, FamilySearch ( : 4 September 2014), Mary G Naylor, 1962; from "England & Wales Deaths, 1837-2006," database, findmypast ( : 2012); citing Death, Gloucester Rural, Gloucestershire, England, General Register Office, Southport, England.

"United States Census, 1910," database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 July 2017), Mary G Naylor in household of Sara D Naylor, Manhattan Ward 21, New York, New York, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) ED 1266, sheet 4B, family 110, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1982), roll 1037; FHL microfilm 1,375,050. 
"United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 September 2015), Mary Gilliat Naylor, 1920; citing Passport Application, England, source certificate #75072, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 1316, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,639,367. 
"United States Passport Applications, 1795-1925," database with images, FamilySearch ( : 4 September 2015), Mary Gilliat Naylor, 1922; citing Passport Application, , source certificate #191890, Passport Applications, January 2, 1906 - March 31, 1925, 2029, NARA microfilm publications M1490 and M1372 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,705,456.


A donation to The English-speaking World in 1923


Mollie Naylor was obviously active during the Second World War in Lymington, for which you received the British Empire Medal in 1946.

A hundred years later the relationship between Emma and Mollie can be seen in a more kindly light. Emma had a difficult relationship with her husband, a notorious philanderer and bankrupt, from whom she was divorced not long before his brutal death in 1919. Mollie, although of good family, was not only jilted by her fiancé, she was also trapped by the colossal shortage of men following the heavy losses of men's lives in the First World War. That they found friendship and companionship is to be lauded. Esmé's marriage to her much older husband was no doubt the consequence of her considerable fortune. It was not the most successful of marriages, and Monty and Esmé lived mostly apart as their three daughters grew up.

The sixth witness is a Mackenzie, presumably a maternal cousin or uncle of the groom, but I cannot distinguish the forename. Is it Frederick?

The seventh witness is Bertram H. Cooke, who I believe to be Major Bertram H. H. Cooke, the bridegroom's brother.

Finally, there is Roderick Mackenzie. Presumably he was another cousin but so far I have not been able to identify him more accurately.

Monday, 2 April 2018

Sydney Schiff

This is an outline of what I would like to have written about Sydney Schiff

His parents relationship. His Father. His Mother.
Birth of his sister.
His birth.
His childhood: Prince Hempseed.
His adolescence and youth: The Other Side.
[When is the discussion about a career?]
His marriage.
His life at Blevio.
The end of his marriage.
Violet Beddington.
His writing.
Dates for books…
His involvement with the arts: names and dates
Poets, artists
  1. Eliot: Letter 16 July 1919 from TSE
  2. Wyndham Lewis: portrait Violet started 1922
  3. Mansfield: 1918 in south of France (Klaidman says 1st April 1920) 
  4. Proust: Spring 1919
  5. Muir: letter May 1924
  6. Sitwells: Sydney appointed Osbert co-editor of Art & Letters November 1918
  7. Eurich, 
  8. Rosenberg: met May 1915 at Café Royal
  9. Koteliansky: pre 1926
  10. Epstein, 
  11. Delius, 
  12. Huxley, 
  13. Joyce, 
  14. Murry, 
  15. Beerbohn, 
  16. Garnett? 
  17. Woolf?, 
  18. Sculptor ?
  19. Had paintings by Gauguin and Picasso at Roquebrune 
  20. Bomberg? 
  21. Gertler

Patronage: Lady Drogheda, 'Eleanor' [Joan Carr]
Editorships and support
Sources: BL

  • Concessions (1913, as Sydney Schiff)
  • War Time Silhouettes (1916)
  • Richard Kurt (1919)
  • Elinor Colhouse (1921)
  • Prince Hempseed (1923)
  • In Sight of Chaos by Hermann Hesse (1923, as translator)
  • Tony (1924)
  • Myrtle (1925)
  • Richard, Myrtle and I (1926)
  • A True Story in Three Parts and a Postscript, All of Them Facile Rubbish (1930)
  • Celeste and Other Sketches (Blackamore Press, 1930)
  • Time Regained by Marcel Proust (1931, as translator)
  • The Other Side (1937)

Schiff, Sydney Alfred [pseud. Stephen Hudson] (1868–1944), novelist, translator, and patron of the arts, was born in London, the illegitimate child of Alfred George Schiff (c.1840–1908), a stockbroker, and Caroline Mary Ann Eliza Cavell, née Scates (1842–c.1896). Caroline had married John Scott Cavell in 1861: he filed for divorce in 1867 on the grounds that Caroline had committed adultery with an unknown person in 1865 and had borne a daughter (Carrie Louise) from this relationship, and that she had cohabited with Alfred Schiff since November 1865. Sydney Schiff's birth was registered under another, untraceable name; the date which the family used as his birthday, 12 December 1868, cannot be confirmed. Caroline married Alfred Schiff in 1869, and they had four further children, one son and three daughters.

Schiff was educated at G. T. Worsley's Preparatory School at Hillingdon, Middlesex, and at Wellington College, Crowthorne, Berkshire. In 1886 he was unsuccessful in his efforts to enter Oxford to read law, and in 1887 he travelled first to Canada, to work for a friend of his father, and subsequently to the United States, to work for his uncle Charles. Travelling in the States, Schiff met Marion Fulton Canine (b. 1867/8, d. after 1932), whom he married on 29 August 1889 in Ontario. The couple returned to Europe, but the marriage was not a success. In spite of the family wealth, Marion's expectations of luxury were not fulfilled; moreover, she antagonized her mother-in-law, and mocked Sydney's literary aspirations. The couple separated in 1908; Marion filed for divorce in June 1910, and the decree absolute was declared on 8 May 1911.

Schiff married Violet Zillah Beddington (1874–1962) on 10 May 1911. Violet and her family were more encouraging of artistic endeavour than Schiff's parents or his first wife, and he turned his attentions to writing fiction and to patronage of the arts. His first novel, Concessions (1913), was published under his own name, but War-Time Silhouettes (1916) and subsequent works appeared under the name Stephen Hudson. The pseudonym was adopted in anticipation of the appearance of Richard Kurt (1919), the first of a sequence of autobiographical novels. Schiff had begun work on these in 1911, but during the First World War he and Violet had enthusiastically read Proust's Du côté de chez SwannÀ la recherche du temps perdu provided a precedent for the scale, if not the manner, of Schiff's autobiographical sequence. Schiff later extensively revised and combined several of his novels as A True Story (1930). His championing of Proust in British literary circles also led to his translating Time Regained (1923) after the death of C. K. Scott Moncrieff.

During the war Schiff developed his role as a patron of the arts, supporting Isaac Rosenberg with small gifts of money and painting materials. He subsidized the short-lived but influential periodical Art and Letters (1918–20), as well as contributing to it and editing one issue. In the post-war period he encouraged and supported other modernist artists and writers through purchases and gifts of money, and through correspondence, hospitality, and conversation. His manner was recalled by Jacob Isaacs as being ‘fastidious, punctilious’ and ‘exquisitely courteous’, while his appearance, on account of his moustache and conservatively tailored jackets, was that of a military man (Beddington-Behrens, 59–60). His circle included Wyndham Lewis, T. S. Eliot, Katherine Mansfield, John Middleton Murry, and Frederick Delius. Though the Schiffs retained a base in London, they frequently travelled and lived elsewhere in the south of England and on the continent, and in consequence a substantial body of correspondence has survived. They became more settled with the move to Abinger Manor, near Dorking, in 1934. Their house was damaged by a stray German bomb in August 1944, and the shock may have been a contributing factor in Schiff's death at the Sackville Court Hotel, Kingsway, Hove, Sussex, from heart failure on 29 October 1944.

Michael H. Whitworth


T. E. M. Boll, ‘Biographical note’, Richard, Myrtle and I, ed. V. Schiff (1962), 15–40 · T. S. Eliot, ‘Mrs Violet Schiff’, The Times (9 July 1962) · E. Beddington-Behrens, Look back, look forward (1962) · Cavell v. Cavell, TNA: PRO, J77/76/485 · Schiff v. Schiff, TNA: PRO, J77/1003/459, J77/1011/678 · M. Proust, Correspondance, ed. P. Kolb, 21 vols. (1970–93) · m. certs. · The Times (13 Nov 1944) · CGPLA Eng. & Wales (1945)


BL, papers · BL, corresp., Add. MSS 52916–52923 |  Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, Wyndham Lewis papers · Harvard U., William Rothenstein papers · Merton Oxf., letters to Max Beerbohm · Tate collection, corresp. with Richard Eurich


W. Lewis, portrait, 1922–3, repro. in W. Michel, Wyndham Lewis: paintings and drawings (1971) · M. Beerbohm, caricature, 1925, repro. in M. Beerbohm, Observations (1925) · photograph, c.1930, repro. in Beddington-Behrens, Look back, look forward, facing p. 60 · photographs, c.1930–1933, repro. in Schiff, ed., Richard, Myrtle and I 

Wealth at death  

£2221 9s. 10d.: probate, 30 Jan 1945, CGPLA Eng. & Wales
Oxford University: Merton College Library
See Location Register of C20 English Lit MSS, British L, 1988
Tate Gallery Archive
NRA 38655
Imperial War Museum Department of Documents
See Location Register of C20 English Lit MSS, British L, 1988
British Library, Manuscript Collections

My darling little Joan

Searching for information about Sydney Schiff led me to look for books by him, written under his pseudonym of Stephen Hudson. I was intrigued to find some of his books for sale that had handwritten dedications to a 'darling little Joan', and I wondered who this could be. After some false leads, it became clear that Joan was, in fact, the Countess of Drogheda, but her remarkable story only gradually appeared. In his book 'Sydney and Violet" Stephen Klaidman refers to Joan, Countess of Drogheda as a friend of Violet, who left Joan her grand piano. In fact their acquaintance went back a long way, to when Joan was still a teenager, and was discovered by Sydney for her skills as a pianist at her first performance at the end of the First World War, and who was to become their protégée. Julian Fane, a later protégé of the widowed Violet, wrote a detailed and affectionate memoir of Violet in his book 'Memoir in the Middle of the Journey', which he dedicated to 'Joan Drogheda'. This was published in 1971, nine years after Violet's death. It was Joan who had introduced Julian to Violet.

Image courtesy of Thomas Dorn, ABAA
Image courtesy of Thomas Dorn, ABAA

Image courtesy of Thomas Dorn, ABAA

In 1993 Julian Fane published his biographical novel 'Eleanor', which is closely based on the life of Joan, Countess of Drogheda. It deals with her illegitimate birth, her difficult upbringing, her informal adoption by Sydney and Violet Schiff, her disastrous marriages, her acting career in America and her eventual meeting and marriage to the earl.
When I read this book it was soon after I had completed extensive research in public records, tracing the story of her mother and her divorce, Joan's birth, and her acting career. The novel was corroborated by what I had discovered, and also brought the skeleton narrative to life.

The Earl and Countess of Drogheda
Details of her birth

Salomon Schiff

My great great great grandfather Samson Schiff who was born in 1807 had three older brothers. The eldest brother was Leopold, born in 1797, about whom and whose many descendants I have discovered and written a great deal. The second son was Aron Adolph, born in 1802, who appears to have died in Nuremburg in 1860, a teacher, and apparently unmarried. The only other information I have been able to discover about him is that he taught languages in Muhlhausen and Dresden, and that in his youth he had been considered a rebel, and was secretly observed by the Royal Saxon Police in 1854 who commented on his 'democratic attitudes' that he wished to express openly. Mühlhausen is just 35km east of Mannheim, but Dresden is much further away, at 380km.

The third brother, who long remained a mystery to me, was Salomon, who was born in 1805. Whereas Leopold went into commerce, Adolph into teaching, and Samson into a craft as a silversmith, Salomon followed a career as a doctor.

Below is an automatic translation of a summary I wrote in French about Salomon and his descendants

The first ancestor whose name we know for sure is Samuel Schwalbach, of Hanau. Born in Hanau after the death of his father, also Samuel, whence his name, according to the Ashkenazi custom, he was married to the orphan Augusta Fuld of Mannheim, who no doubt brought him a considerable dowry. After this marriage he changed his surname from Schwalbach to Schiff, but this family name was not completely forgotten either by the family or by the authorities.This couple gave birth to one daughter and four sons: the eldest was named Leopold, the second Adolph, the third Solomon, and the youngest son Samson, my own ancestor. Leopold became a merchant, Adolph was a language teacher, Samson was a goldsmith, and Salomon, apparently the smartest, became a doctor in 1832. Born in Mannheim in 1805, he married May 4, 1837 with Caroline Zimmern, from a good Jewish family also from Mannheim. Their son Rudolph was born on April 2, 1838. When he was one year old his father Solomon died, leaving this son more than a pregnant woman. His little brother Friedrich Salomon (thus taking the name of his deceased father) was born July 16, 1839, but at this moment we lose all trace.As for Rudolph, he reappears at his wedding to the Christian Maria Anna Josepha Kunkel July 24, 1866 in Feudenheim, a suburb of Mannheim. Their four children were Mathilde, born in Frankfurt in 1867, Otto, also born in 1869 in Frankfurt, Elise, born in Bruchsal in 1871, and Franz Salomon, born in Mannheim in 1876.It is not known when this family arrived in Paris, but Rudolph was recognized by the state as 'officer of public instruction' before his death in 1918. Of his children, so far from Mathilde we know nothing apart from his marriage to Baptiste Faugeras, Otto I discovered his Parisian life as a musician and composer, Elise I recently discovered some details of his life, especially concerning his marriage to the Polish Jewish lawyer Roman Flatau . Franz Solomon married at the age of 19 with Julie Oppenheim, who appears to be the daughter of a Jewish couple. Franz and Julie had three daughters: Octavine, Lucienne and Yvonne. All three brides, Octavine has many descendants in France, Lucienne left family in Chile and the United States, and Yvonne also left descendants in the United States.

The death of Johanna Wollheim, and the marriage of Ludwig Wollheim

Johanna Wollheim

This was a surprise: the death certificate for Johanna Schiff, née Wollheim. The surprise being that it states that she professed no religion at the time of her death. Dated 13th May 1876, it gives her birthplace at Lissa, now Leszno in Poland. It states, as we would expect, that she was the wife of Leopold Schiff, and the daughter of Jacob Wollheim and Nanny Löwenthal. Her mother is variously named in the records as Nechle, Nechama and Nägele, obviously all variants, reflecting Yiddish, Hebrew, German and assimilatory influences over time.
I am at present unable to decipher and thence translate all the handwriting in this document.

Ludwig Wollheim

A marriage certificate, the husband being Ludwig Wollheim,and I think it reads that he was a merchant in Trieste, born 9th July 1830, and the son of Solomon Wollheim and Enrichetta Bernheimer. He married Helene Weissweiller in Frankfurt on 29th April 1864. She was born on 19th February 1840 and her parents were Leopold David Weisweiller and his wife Johanna. Ludwig was the nephew of Johanna Schiff.

I have received the following translations kindly provided by my friend Claudia Petersen of Hamburg.

Death Certificate Johanna Schiff:
No. 737
Hamburg, May 13, 1876
Today presented himself to the registrar who signed this document
The lawyer Jacob Lazarus, Dr. jur.
Living at                        Winterhude, Bellevue
And declared that his mother-in-law, Johanna Schiff née Wollheim
66 years of age, without religion (faith)
Living at                       Winterhude, Bellevue
Born at                         Lissa, having been married to the pensioner Leopold Schiff, deceased,
Daughter of the deceased married couple Jacob Wollheim and Nanny née Löwenthal
At                                 Winterhude
May 12 of the year 1876
In the afternoon at 11:45 o’clock
Read, accepted and signed
Dr. Lazarus
The registrar J.W. Hansen

Wedding register
April 29, 1864
Wollheim, Ludwig, merchant from Triest, born at Triest on July 9, 1830, son of Salomon Wollheim and Enrichetta Bernheimer, both deceased,
At the margin: Banns put up April 2, 1864, fol. [foglio] 135
Weisweiller, Helene, cancelled from the association of citizens [?];
Born here on Feb. 19, 1840,
Legitimate daughter of the local citizen and merchant Leopold David Weisweiller and his wife Johanna née Ellissen [Ellißen]
Were married here civilly
Friday, April 29, 1864.
Witnesses were:
1.)   Julius Löwengard, citizen of our town and Director of the German Phönix [fire insurance company]
2.)   Dr. jur. Michael Manhayn, citizen of our town and lawyer

Ludwig Wollheim, as bridegroom
Helene Wollheim née Weisweiller
Dr. Manhayn as witness [1800-1878, Frankfurt, Member of the Constituent Assembly in Frankfurt 1849/1850, Member of the Parliament of Frankfurt 1851/ 1854-1858]
Julius Löwengard as witness [Julius Löwengard was the founder of the German Phönix in Frankfurt.]

For attestation: D. Schrader, Dr. [I guess, not easy to read]