Herminie Templeton Kavanagh

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Herminie Templeton Kavanagh
Born Herminie Allen McGibney
Aldershot, Hampshire, United Kingdom
Died 30 October 1933(1933-10-30) (aged 72)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Resting place New York, USA
Nationality British
Notable works Darby O'Gill and the Good People (ISBN 0-9666701-0-8)
Ashes of Old Wishes and Other Darby O'Gill Tales (ISBN 0-8369-4018-0)
The Color Sergeant (1903)
Swift-Wing of the Cherokee (1903)
Spouse John Templeton
Judge Marcus Kavanagh

Herminie Templeton Kavanagh (1861[1] – 30 October 1933)[2] was a British writer, most known for her short stories.

She was born Herminie McGibney, the daughter of Major George McGibney of Longford, Ireland. She became Herminie Templeton after her first marriage to John Templeton,[3] and Herminie Templeton Kavanagh after her second marriage. Her second husband, Marcus Kavanagh (1859–1937), was a Cook County judge in Chicago, Illinois from 1898 to 1935.

Accounts differ on how she and the judge met, and where and when they married. In July 1908, the Chicago Tribune announced that they would be married at his parents' church in Des Moines, Iowa, but that the judge was "reticent as to the details."[4] Another article in the Tribune, several weeks later, said that Mrs. Templeton had been abandoned by her first husband in Chicago circa 1893. In the course of the clerical work in the city recorder's office by which she supported herself,[5] she met Kavanagh, and they were to be married at the church in County Waterford, Ireland where his parents had been married. "It is said there has been a silent understanding and a wait of over ten years" until news of Templeton's death in 1907, the article explained.[6] But the following day, the Tribune reported that they were married in Dublin, Ireland on 19 August 1908, by a monsignor from Des Moines, Iowa.[7]

But according to her 1933 obituary in the same newspaper, they met in Ireland in 1907 while the judge was touring Europe and she was gathering material for a book, and they married on 19 August 1908, at his parent's church in Des Moines, Iowa.[8] Judge Kavanagh's listing in Who Was Who in America (1943) said that they were married on 19 August 1905.[9]

Judge Marcus Kavanagh, her second husband.[10]

Her best known work, Darby O'Gill and the Good People (ISBN 0-9666701-0-8), was first published as a series of stories under the name Herminie Templeton in McClure's magazine in 1901–1902, before being published as a book in the United States in 1903. A second edition, published a year before her death, was under the name Herminie T. Kavanagh.

The Good People in the title refers to the fairies in Irish mythology. The English translation of daoine maithe is good people.

Her second published book, Ashes of Old Wishes and Other Darby O'Gill Tales (ISBN 0-8369-4018-0), was published in 1926. In 1959, Walt Disney released a film based on these two books, called Darby O'Gill and the Little People.

She also wrote two plays, The Color Sergeant (1903), and Swift-Wing of the Cherokee (1903).

Judge and Mrs. Kavanagh lived in Chicago and Ocean Grove, New Jersey. She died of a heart ailment, and was buried in New York, her former home.


  1. ^ http://www.freebmd.org.uk Births Jun 1861 MCGIBNEY Minnie Allen Farnham 2a 75 – There are two birth registrations for the surname McGibney in Hampshire in the period 1845–1875: Eliza Edith McGibney in the third quarter of 1859, and Minnie Allen McGibney in the second quarter of 1861. FreeBMD. England & Wales, FreeBMD Birth Index: 1837–1983 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2006. "Minnie" is probably Herminie. The census of England and Wales taken on 7 April 1861 shows living in Aldershot were Sgt. Maj. G. McGibney, born in Ireland, wife E. McGibney, and one-year-old daughter E. E. McGibney.
  2. ^ Illinois State Archives, Database of Illinois Death Certificates, 1916–1950 Archived 11 May 2008 at the Wayback Machine..
  3. ^ U.S. Census, 1 June 1900. State of Illinois, County of Cook, City of Chicago, enumeration district 46, page 8A, family 106.
  4. ^ "Bachelor Jurist and Bride-to-Be," Chicago Tribune, 16 July 1908, p. 4.
  5. ^ "Chicago Woman Writing Irish Fairy Tales," Chicago Tribune, 2 August 1902, p. 16.
  6. ^ "Local Jurist Weds in Erin; Sequel of Chicago Romance," Chicago Tribune, 19 August 1908, p. 13. A ship passenger list shows Herminie and her sister Edith McGibney two names away from Judge Kavanagh's on the passenger list of a ship embarking from Glasgow, Scotland, in 1906. S.S. Columbia, port of New York, 6 August 1906.
  7. ^ "Judge Kavanagh Weds Author," Chicago Tribune, 20 August 1908, p. 7.
  8. ^ "Mrs. Kavanagh, Wife of Judge, Dies; Ill a Week," Chicago Tribune, 31 October 1933, p. 22. It is unlikely that they were married in Iowa at that time. Marcus Kavanagh's application for a U.S. passport for himself "and wife", made on 28 July 1908, said that he was about to depart on 1 August for a period of three months. He and Herminie returned to the United States on 25 October 1908. Passenger list, S.S. St. Paul, port of New York.
  9. ^ Who Was Who in America, Volume I. Chicago: Marquis Who's Who, 1943.
  10. ^ Donovan, Henry. "Chicago Eagle". Illinois Digital Newspaper Collections. 

Further reading[edit]

  • American Women Playwrights, 1900–1930. A checklist. Compiled by Frances Diodato Bzowski. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992.
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy Literature. A checklist, 1700–1974. Volume 1. By R. Reginald. Detroit: Gale Research, 1979.

External links[edit]