with Horse and Hound

Who is Edith Somerville?

laura 1Edith Somerville (left) and Violet Martin (right) from "Irish Memories" (1919) by E. Œ. Somerville and Martin Ross. Image from Wikimedia Commons. 

I discovered Edith Œnone Somerville (Irish, 1858-1949), cousin and writing partner of Violet Martin (Irish, 1862-1915), while searching the National Sporting Library & Museum archives for content to post on the NSLM’s Facebook page for Women’s History Month. One of my favorite things about my job are the opportunities I have to research our collections and share them digitally, but I felt that Edith Somerville’s story deserved more than a Facebook post.

Somerville was the first female Master of Foxhounds in Ireland, the West Carbery in Skibereen, County Cork. By no means incidentally, she was also a writer, humorist, artist, suffragist and feminist, and believer in the occult. She was President of the Munster Women’s Franchise League, was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters by Trinity College Dublin in 1932, and was invited to become a member of the Irish Academy of Letters by W.B. Yeats the following year.

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