Friday, January 18, 2019

Viola Gerard Garvin

Viola Gerard Garvin (b. Newcastle-on-Tyne, 1 January 1898; d. London, 26 January 1969)

Viola Garvin was the second child of James Louis Garvin (1868-1947), famous editor of the London newspaper The Observer, and his first wife Christina Ellen Wilson (1876-1918), who were married in Newcastle-on-Tyne late in 1894.  Viola had an older brother and three younger sisters.

Viola was educated at the South Hampstead School for Girls, and at Somerville College, Oxford (A.B. 1920).  After her brother's death in World War I in 1916, she took his middle name "Gerard" as her own middle name. She taught English for some year at the Putney High School for Girls, and then served as the Literary Editor of The Observer from 1926-1942, the newspaper at which her father was editor.  When her father left The Observer, she left too, and thereafter worked as a freelance journalist and translator. In the 1930s she was romantically associated with Humbert Wolfe (1885-1940), who was then married to someone else.

She published one volume of poetry, Dedication (1928), and many translations from the French, from The Life of Solomon (1929) by Edmond Fleg, to The Schooner (1959) by Freddy Drilhon. All volumes are signed as by either Viola Gerard Garvin or Viola G. Garvin. She assisted in the preparation for Alfred M. Gollin's The Observer and J.L. Garvin, 1908-1914: A Study in Great Editorship (1960).

Viola Gerard Garvin has sometimes been confused with her father's second wife (married in 1921), Viola [Taylor Woods] Garvin (1882-1959), also a writer under a number of names. 

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