Miss Clara Smith

no-picture-square3Miss Clara Smith, 51, (1881-1964) was a proof reader for Time and Tide, edited Lady Rhondda’s just-published autobiography and was contributing to the “New Fiction” column in Time and Tide around this time.[1] [2] [3] [4] Clara was a friend of Theodora Bosanquet from before the war and they wrote a novel together, Spectators, in 1916. [5] Further reading of Time and Tide would doubtless reveal more of her work and stories. Fortunately she wasn’t listed as simply Miss Smith on the guest list…. that would have made her into a mystery guest!


Anyone on this Time and Tide table would be fine.


Reactions to Lady Rhondda’s autobiography which she proof read (and probably wrote parts of) would be of interest.


Clara was born on 9th June 1881 (according to the 1939 census). Being a Smith doesn’t make this easy, so this is work in progress. In the year before the dinner Clara was definitely busy proof-reading Lady Rhondda’s autobiography –in addition to normal Time and Tide duties.

puzzle-piece2-50  For once we can’t track down her origins or upbringing. Can you help?


From 1933 to 1939 Clara was living at 126 Elm Park Mansions, Chelsea, the 1939 census showing Clara Smith, journalist, single, born 9.6.1881, which makes her a very close contemporary of Theodora.

In June 1941 The Times reported her attendance at the Hampstead funeral of Mrs Hubert Stuart Moore (Miss Evelyn Underhill), other attendees including T. S. Eliot, Mrs Geoffrey Faber and Mrs G.C. Bosanquet.[6] Evelyn Underhill (6 December 1875 – 15 June 1941) was an English Anglo-Catholic writer and pacifist known for her numerous works on religion and spiritual practice, in particular Christian mysticism.[7] Was Clara into mysticism like Theodora?

Clara died on 24th January 1964, at 16 Hendham Road, Upper Tooting, London SW17, probate to Margaret Smith, spinster, home address 109 Elm Park Mansions, Park Walk, London SW10. She would have been 82.


[1] Reference to a review by Clara Smith, New Fiction: Love and Consequences, of Expiation, by Elizabeth von Arnim, in Time and Tide, 8.3.1929, p 266, cited in Isobel Maddison, Elizabeth von Arnim: Beyond the German Garden, Routledge, 2016

[2] Angela V. John (2013), Turning the Tide, Cardigan, Parthian, pages 436 and 478

[3] Emma Liggins, Odd Women?: Spinsters, lesbians and widows in British women’s fiction, 1850s-1930s, Oxford University Press,16.5.2016 – Reference to Clara Smith, New Fiction, Time and Tide, 19.7.1930

[4] Clara Smith, New Fiction, Time and Tide, 11.7.1931

[5] Thank you to Catherine Clay for this information, quoting Lyall H Powers’ introduction to Henry James at Work, Theodora Bosanquet, with excerpts from her Diary and an account of her professional career.

[6] The Times, 20.6.1941, p7

[7] Wikipedia, accessed 20.8.2019 Evelyn Underhill

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