Saturday, November 17, 2012

Amy G. Eddison

Amy G. Eddison (b. Leeds, Yorkshire 22 November 1868; d. Harrogate, Yorkshire 8 March 1962)

Amy Gordon Eddison was the fourth of five children (two boys, followed by three girls) of John Eddison (1835-1920), a land surveyor, auctioneer, and insurance agent, and his first wife Emily Jemima Horncastle (1834-1871), who were married in Firbeck, near Worksop, Nottinghamshire, on 3 March 1859.  In July 1874, three years after his wife’s death, John Eddison married Mary Best (1847-1893), and they had two daughters.  In the nineteenth century there was a rather large population of Eddisons in Yorkshire.  Noted fantasist E. R. Eddison (1883-1945) was a second cousin of Amy G. Eddison, as they shared great grandparents. E. R. Eddison’s grandfather Edwin Eddison (1805-1867) was a younger brother of Amy Eddison’s grandfather William Eddison (1801-1970); the brothers were both the children of John Eddison (1756-1812) and Ann Booth Eddison (1770-1845). 

Little is known of Amy Eddison’s life.  In the 1890s, she moved southwards and resided in the greater London area for many years. She wrote and illustrated her first book, Tales the old Governess Told: A Week of Stories Spun by the Story-Spider (London: H.R. Allenson, [1907]), as by A.G. Eddison, after which time she signed her work as by Amy G. Eddison.  The book begins with an explanation that the very old governess, who had been governess for three families, has a Story-Spider that lives in her brain, and has spun the tales she told.  There follows seven tales, one for each day of the week, beginning with Monday and “The Bumble Bee Brownie” and ending with Sunday, “Christina and the Christ Child”.  Each tale has an illustration by the authoress. The most interesting stories are the fairy tales, including “The Bumble Tree Brownie” and “The Mermaid”.  Less interesting are the non-fantasies, like “Eric the Terrible”, which concerns an obnoxious young boy.
Miss Eddison also contributed to periodicals: one sentimental religious story, “The Flash in the Pan”, is known to have appeared in Quiver (March 1908). Around 1909, she became involved with W.T. Stead’s famous “Books for the Bairns”—small cheaply-produced and often illustrated booklets for children.  The series ran from 1896 through 1923, outlasting their originator, W.T. Stead, who died on the Titanic in 1912.  Amy G. Eddison contributed six volumes, and three of these were reprinted in updated forms.  A few have Eddison’s own illustrations.  Her contributions include:  A Brownie’s Love Story (no. 168, January 1910); The Enchanted Village (no. 178, November 1910); Little Peter—Second Part of the Enchanted Village (no. 179, December 1910); The Spotted Cat (no. 192, December 1911); Kit-Kat (no. 200, August 1912); The Tale of Pat (no. 201, August 1912); and three new editions: Tale of a Cat: Kit-Kat and His Friends (no. 254, August 1917, illustrated by the author); The Tale of Pat (no. 266, August 1918); and A Brownie’s Love Story (new series, no. 19, June 1923, with illustrations by Brinsley Le Fanu and the author). 
Amy G. Eddison never married, and late in life returned to Yorkshire, where she died at the age of 93. 


  1. What makes the religious story "sentimental"?

  2. It's about a woman who learns she probably has only six months (at most) to live, so she plans a long-desired trip to the Holy Land with the meagre sum of her savings. A forgotten friend from her schooldays shows up asking her for £500 for a fresh start for herself and her infant. That night, overcome with sentiment, the woman decides to give the money to her forgotten friend, and then she dies.