Drew, Mary

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Drew, Mary

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23 November 1847 - 1 January 1927


(from Wikipedia entry)

Mary Drew (née Gladstone; 23 November 1847–1 January 1927), was a political secretary, writer and hostess. She was the daughter of the British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, and achieved notability as his advisor, confidante and private secretary. She also attained a fair degree of political influence by controlling access to him. On 2 February 1886, at the age of 38, Mary Gladstone astounded her friends and family by marrying the Rev. Harry Drew, curate of Hawarden, who was ten years her junior. They initially lived in the home of her parents, Hawarden Castle. They had one surviving daughter, Dorothy Mary Catherine Drew, born 11 March 1890, known as "Dossie", who was a favourite of her grandfather.

After the Prime Minister's final retirement in 1894, her political influence waned. Although a great friend to his successor Lord Rosebery, she was never again able to wield influence. A keen diarist, Gladstone kept copious notes of her father's meetings and conversations, in addition to her own observations of late 19th-century political events. Her archives, "The Mary Gladstone Papers" (some of which were published by Lucy Masterman in 1930 under the title Mary Gladstone (Mrs. Drew), Her Diaries and Letters), are a much-used source of many 20th- and 21st-century biographies of leading figures of the day.

The diary, which served as an emotional outlet, diminished in its thoroughness after her marriage, when what she had previously committed to paper she found she could instead commit to her husband. She wrote nothing at all for the seven years between 1904 and 1911, but picked it up again almost immediately after her husband died. She had intended for a time to publish the diaries herself, but, according to Lucy Masterman, the proofs "were considerably 'edited' and much of the raciness and individuality taken from them. They have therefore been discarded, except as evidence of an intention to publish, wherever the original MS. exists."

Gladstone had an eccentric grammar, employing a sort of long dot as her generic period. Masterman (whom the diary describes at twenty-two as "rather a minx with forward priggy manners") took pains to edit out both this and the many banal lists of attendees at parties and dinners, along with the myriad accounts and analyses of symphony concerts, and evidence of her congenital dayums: "Anniversaries of births, christenings, confirmations, proposals, betrothals, deaths, and funerals were constantly noted, together, of course, with Saints' Days and Festivals of the Church."

For more information, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Gladstone and http://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/c/F69775 .


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Welby, Victoria, Lady, 1837-1912 (1837-1912)

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Created 2015-10-28 by Anna St.Onge.


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