Friday, January 8, 2016

Gertrude Dunn

Gertrude Dunn (b. reg. Croydon, Surrey, Oct-Dec 1884; d. 12 January 1949 in Tooting Bec, London)

Gertrude Willoughby Cecilia Meade was the third of four children of Joseph Willoughby Meade (1847-1933), the manager of a sugar refinery, and his second wife, Marion Gertrude Cohen (1855-1932), who were married at St. Dominic's Priory in St. Pancras, Middlesex, on 31 October 1874. (Some of the family seem at some point to have dropped the final e in their surname, as official records appear under both "Meade" and "Mead".)  Gertrude had two older brothers and one younger sister. Her oldest brother Gerald Dominic Willoughby Meade (1875-1958), published some booklets and a substantial book Chinese Ghouls and Goblins (1928) as by "G. Willoughby-Meade".

Gertrude married a banker's clerk, Edward William Gillow Dunn (1871-1951) in the spring of 1907.  They had two children, a daughter born in 1910 and a son born in 1912.

As Gertrude Dunn she published three fantasy novels (her only books) in a short span of three years, all with the same publisher, Thornton Butterworth. The first, Unholy Depths (published in October 1926), is a ghost story with spiritualistic overtones concerning a house built over the former camping ground of gyspies, whose queen practiced some kind of voodoo. The second, and probably the scarcest of the three, is The Mark of the Bat: A Tale of Vampires, Living and Dead (published in March 1928). It interestingly has a hereditary yet living vampire who find a rival in his victim, who has become a traditional vampire. And the third is And So Forever (published in October 1929), telling the story of a beautiful woman whose extraordinarily long life is apparently owed to witchcraft and to a mysterious elixir. All three Gertrude Dunn novels are uncommon.

This author is not to be confused with Gertrude Ballie-Weaver (1855-1926), who was born Gertrude Renton, and who was married to Henry Arthur Colmore Dunn for several years before his death in 1896. During these years she was known as Gertrude Colmore Dunn, and used "G. Colmore" or "Gertrude Colmore" as her pen-name. After she was married a second time to Harold Baillie-Weaver in 1901, she continued to use the same pen-name.


  1. Thank you for this write up. Gerald Willougbhy Meade was my maternal great grandfather. I had heard his sister was also a writer and will try to find copies of her books.

    1. When you read any of them, please come back and tell us about them.