The Gentlewoman

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The Gentlewoman dated January 30, 1892, advertised Bram Stoker's contribution to an unusual novel, The Fate of Fenella

The Gentlewoman was a weekly illustrated paper for women founded in 1890 and published in London.

For its first thirty-six years its full title was The Gentlewoman: An Illustrated Weekly Journal for Gentlewomen.[1] In 1926 it was briefly renamed Gentlewoman and Modern Life, and ceased publication later the same year, to be merged with Eve: The Lady's Pictorial.


Publishing its first issue on 12 July 1890,[1] The Gentlewoman soon established a reputation for good writing. On 15 December 1891 The Times reported that its Christmas number had

...stories, all illustrated in colours, by Mr Farjeon, Mr Grant Allen, Mr Doyle, Lord Brabourne, Miss Florence Warden, Mrs Campbell Praed, Mr Henry Herman, and Mr A. J. Pask, and the beginning of a novel, produced under exceptional conditions, "The Fate of Fenella".[2]

This unusual "consecutive novel", in which each chapter was written by a different author, was serialized between December 1891 and April 1892.[3][4] The Gentlewoman's editor, Joseph Snell Wood, devised the idea and arranged for male and female writers to alternate in developing the narrative–although one of the men in the list, "Frank Danby", was in fact a woman. Those he secured for the project included Bram Stoker, Frances Eleanor Trollope, Florence Marryat, Mrs Hungerford, Arthur Conan Doyle, and Mary Eliza Kennard. Stoker's chapter, called "Lord Castleton Explains", appeared in January 1892.[5] The Times commented at the outset that "The result of so peculiar an experiment will be awaited with some curiosity."[2] The complete work was published as a three volume novel by Hutchinson of London in May 1892,[3] and a review of it noted the absence of a controlling mind.[4]

In 1892 The Gentlewoman employed E. W. Hornung, later famous as the creator of A. J. Raffles, as an assistant editor.[6]

In 1893 the paper launched a campaign against "tight-lacing", the fad for ever-smaller waists created by very tight corsets, which it described as "this modern madness" and "this pernicious habit".[7]

In 1894 the editor, J. S. Wood, founded the Society of Women Journalists.[8] In May of the same year, the paper published The Gentlewoman Handbook of Education: What a Parent Should Know, by "Dominie".[9]

In 1895 Margaret Wolfe Hungerford's novel A Point of Conscience first appeared as a serial in The Gentlewoman.[10] In November of that year, Mary Anne Keeley addressed a ninetieth birthday message to her fellow-actresses by way of a letter to The Gentlewoman which was reported in The Times.[11]

J. S. Wood and A. J. Warden were reported to be the proprietors of The Gentlewoman in 1896.[12]

In July 1897 Arthur Mulliner took two of the paper's women journalists from Northampton to London in a Daimler, and they asked why he called the car "she". When he replied that it was because "it took a man to manage her", they proved him wrong by both taking a turn at the wheel and later reported the journey to have been like "tobogganing or riding on a switchback railway".[13]

The Gentlewoman competition poster, 1898

In 1898, preference shares in the paper were listed on the London Stock Exchange.[14] Also in 1898, the Grafton Galleries hosted an exhibition of the winning images from the paper's photographic competition, open to amateur photographers only. The Gentlewoman had offered two hundred guineas in prizes, equivalent to £24,887 in 2021, and the judges were H. P. Robinson, Viscount Maitland, and the Rev. F. C. Lambert.[15]

The Gentlewoman celebrated the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria with The Gentlewoman's Record of the Glorious Reign of Victoria the Good, by the paper's editor, J. S. Wood.[16] The next year, 1898, the London periodical Truth reported that

"The Gentlewoman has gained for itself a reputation and position of stability which is without parallel in the history of any similar Journal, having regard to the number of years it has been established. Its high tone and artistic and literary excellence have made it a popular weekly newspaper."[17]

In 1900 the paper published the first instalment of Marie Bashkirtseff's journals and letters to Guy de Maupassant,[18] and Lord Alfred Douglas's friend T. W. H. Crosland was a regular contributor.[19]

In 1902 the popular novelist Marie Corelli wrote to the editor of The Gentlewoman to complain that her name had been left out of a list of the guests in the Royal Enclosure at the Braemar Highland Gathering, and she suspected that this had been done intentionally. Wood replied from his office in the Strand that her name had indeed been left out intentionally, because of her own stated contempt for the press and for the snobbery of those wishing to appear in the "news puffs" of society events. Both letters were published in full in the next issue of the paper.[20]

In 1906 the composer Marian Arkwright received a prize from The Gentlewoman for her orchestral work called The Winds of the World.[21] Doctor Caroline Matthews was one of those who supported The Gentlewoman's Children's Salon[22] and her associates wrote about Matthew's bravery 'Sturdily the stranger in the camp, [she] worked with a will, sharing the hardship of the men.' which won her medals from the King of Italy when providing relief during the 1908 Messina earthquake.[23] Matthews was to later write a longer article on her war experiences as a volunteer surgeon, titled 'A Lady Doctor at the Front', in the Balkans war 1912-13.[24]

In June 1918, it was through The Gentlewoman that Princess Mary announced she was to train as a nurse at the Great Ormond Street Hospital.[25]

In 1919 the paper gave its name to "The Gentlewoman Tournament", the first Girls Amateur Championship, which was won by Audrey Croft.[26] The competition had been first organised before the war, but now with golf enthusiast Mabel Stringer as the Gentlewoman's Sports editor the competition took off at Stoke Poges.[27] In 1925 it was organized from the offices of the paper, then based at 69–77 Long Acre, London WC2.[28] The competition continued at Stoke Poges until 1938.[27]

J. S. Wood died in December 1920, still in office as chairman and managing director of The Gentlewoman, aged 67,[29] and was succeeded by his son H. C. P. Wood.[30]

At the beginning of 1926, The Gentlewoman was renamed Gentlewoman and Modern Life, but only seven months later it was merged with a women's magazine called Eve: The Lady's Pictorial[31][32] and later ceased publication. The last issue was dated 7 August 1926.[33] In April 1927, H. C. P. Wood took The Gentlewoman Illustrated Limited into voluntary liquidation, and the company was wound up.[30]

Britannia and Eve magazine (1929–1955)[34] launched on 1 May 1929.[35][33] Eve: The Lady's Pictorial, "a high-quality women's magazine", had been published since 1926.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Nos. 1 to 1,853 dated between 12 July 1890 and 2 January 1926; see Victorian Illustrated Newspapers and Journals: Select list at, web site of the British Library, accessed 21 February 2014
  2. ^ a b 'Christmas Numbers', The Times, issue 33508, 15 December 1891, p. 6
  3. ^ a b The Fate of Fenella at, accessed 21 February 2012
  4. ^ a b The Fate of Fenella, The Spectator, May 1892, at, accessed 21 February 2014
  5. ^ "Lord Castleton Explains", Chapter 10 of The Fate of Fenella, in The Gentlewoman dated 30 January 1892
  6. ^ Gyles Brandreth, Oscar Wilde and a Game Called Murder: A Mystery (2008), p. 317
  7. ^ 'The sin and scandal of tight-lacing', The West Australian, Tuesday 17 January 1893
  8. ^ Peter Gordon, David Doughan, Dictionary of British Women's Organisations: 1825–1960 (Routledge, 2001, ISBN 978-0-7130-4045-6), p. 135
  9. ^ 'Publications To-Day', The Times, issue 34267, 18 May 1894, p. 6
  10. ^ British Books, vol. 10 (1895), p. 102: "The Gentlewoman contains the first chapters of a new story by Mrs Hungerford, entitled 'A Point of Conscience'."
  11. ^ 'Court Circular', The Times, issue 34740, 21 November 1895, p. 5
  12. ^ 'The Sala Memorial Fund', The Times, issue 34990, 8 September 1896, p. 6
  13. ^ Lord Montagu, David Burgess-Wise, Daimler Century (Stephens, 1995, ISBN 1-85260-494-8), p. 47
  14. ^ 'Stocks and Shares', The Times, issue 35680, 22 November 1898, p. 11
  15. ^ Henry Snowden Ward, Process: The Photomechanics of Printed Illustration (1898), p. 266
  16. ^ The National Union Catalog, vol. 672 (Mansell, 1980), p. 269
  17. ^ Truth, vol. 44 (1898), p. 261
  18. ^ The Academy, vol. 59 (1900), p. 572
  19. ^ Henry Robert Addison et al., eds., 'Crosland, Thomas William Hodgson' in Who's Who, vol. 59 (1907), p. 418
  20. ^ Teresa Ransom, The Mysterious Miss Marie Corelli: Queen of Victorian Bestsellers (2013), p. 100
  21. ^ The Monthly Musical Record, vol. 36 (1906), p. 89
  22. ^ "Our New Scheme: The Children's Salon". The Gentlewoman. 6 December 1890. p. 825.
  23. ^ "Signal Honour for a Former Children's Salon Associate". The Gentlewoman. 16 July 1910. p. XVIII.
  24. ^ Matthews, Caroline Twigge (23 November 1912). "A Lady Doctor at the Front". The Gentlewoman. p. 700.
  25. ^ 'Court Circular', The Times, issue 41826, 26 June 1918, p. 9
  26. ^ 'The Girls' Championship: A Great Match' (from a Special Correspondent) in The Times, issue 42209 dated 19 September 1919, p. 5
  27. ^ a b "Stringer, Mabel Emily (1868–1958), golfer and journalist". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. 2004. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/63388. ISBN 978-0-19-861412-8. Retrieved 2020-10-06. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  28. ^ 'Golf' (by our Golf correspondent), The Times, issue 44040, 14 August 1925, p. 5
  29. ^ The Publisher, vol. 114 (1921), p. 6: "J. S. Wood: The death took place on Monday, at 26, Kensington Court, after a long illness, of Mr. Joseph Snell Wood, chairman and managing director of The Gentlewoman Illustrated, Limited, and of the Press Printers, Ltd."
  30. ^ a b The London Gazette, Issue 33266, 15 April 1927, p. 2,504
  31. ^ "Cover of Eve Magazine 11 May 1927, advertising a Rees-Mace Radio set". agefotostock. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  32. ^ "Front cover of Eve Magazine for Christmas 1927". agefotostock. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  33. ^ a b "Britannia and Eve". British Newspaper Archive. Retrieved 8 October 2018. Nos. 1,854 to 1,883, 9 January to 7 August 1926
  34. ^ "Britannia and Eve Magazine July 1934 includes the Daphne du Maurier short story Leading Lady". Daphne du Maurier .org. Retrieved 1 June 2023.
  35. ^ a b "Collection of the week: Britannia & Eve". Mary Evans Picture Library. Retrieved 1 June 2023.