Maud Grieve and Hilda Leyel

Maud Grieve and Hilda Leyel

Joan Dugdale
Joan Dugdale

December 27th, 2005, 4:35 am #1

I'm an Australian member, a medical herbalist and published writer, and I'm currently researching for a biography of Maud Grieve, author of A Modern Herbal. As everyone will know, the Herbal was edited by Hilda Leyel. I am posting this message in the hope of turning up some information about Mrs Grieve and her collaboration with Mrs Leyel, or at least some clues as to where I might look. I apologise in advance for the length of the post.

Maud Grieve was an amazing intellect and, in the context of her time, an extraordinarily strong and independent business woman. For erudition, her Herbal has no equal in English, and yet very little is known about her. It seems wrong and sad to me that she should have no monument and no biography.

The census records show she was born Sophia Emma Magdalene Law in Islington in 1858, the daughter of a ladies' outfitter. The archives I have seen contain very little personal information and it seems Grieve was always more interested in promoting her work than herself. The Herbal Review, journal of The Herb Society, Vols 3(3),1978, 5 (3)1980, and 6(2)1981 has some useful articles about Grieve and Leyel. Volume 6 contains some very interesting correspondence from a Miss Monica Dunbar of Aylesbury, who knew Maud personally. It may be that there was follow-up correspondence to these articles in the Review. Does anyone know where the back copies might be stored? Perhaps there are members of Miss Dunbar's family still around Aylesbury who might have kept the family papers. Does anyone know?

Maud Law married William Somerville Grieve of Edinburgh in India in 1885. William was connected to two other prominent Edinburgh families, the Somervilles and the Symingtons. These families were paper makers, publishers, stationers and wine merchants. One of William's cousins, Symington Grieve, was a famous ornithologist who corresponded with Charles Darwin. I intend visiting the UK early in 2006, and going to Edinburgh University where there is some archival material. It may be that there is relevant family correspondence in Edinburgh, as well. If there are Scottish members who have some information about the Somerville and Symington Grieves I would be most grateful to hear from you.

During the first world war, Maud had an assistant called Edith Grey Wheelwright at her farm (The Whins, Chalfont St Peter). Ms Wheelwright later wrote The Physick Garden; Medicinal Plants and Their History; Jonathon Cape, 1934. Perhaps someone knows something of her family, and where her papers might be kept.

Maud was connected through her mother's sister, Harriet, to the family of Aquila Aspinall of Leeds, and, through her brother, to the Catmull family of Willesden. She also had two sisters, younger than herself: Margaret Ann and Eliza Caroline. At least one of them remained single and had power of attorney over Maud's estate in 1938. Maud died in Hitchin in 1941.

If any members know the whereabouts of correspondence between Grieve and Leyel, or the minutes of Herb Society meetings from the decade 1928-38, I would be most grateful if you'd let me know. Thank you for your patience with this lengthy screed.
Joan Dugdale, MNHAA,
21 a Park Rd,
Marrickville,
NSW 2204
AUSTRALIA.
+61295607544
joan@oz2000.com
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

December 27th, 2005, 11:19 am #2

Dear Joan,
I agree that it is strange that so little is known about Maud Grieve. However there is an article by Barty Philips entitled “The Indefatigable Mrs Grieve” in The Herb Society’s journal Herbs 2002 Vol 27 No1. Barty has edited Herbs magazine for 4 years and may have some material you can look at, or help you with your research.

Past copies of the magazines of The Herb Society must be in the library at Sulgrave Manor. The Herb Society has had to move a couple of times and I don’t know whether the library has been collated and indexed. It is open to members, but at the last Conference it was stated that no one had ever asked to look at it. I would love to look at it, but it isn’t convenient to me where I live. Presumably the articles you want to see in The Herbal Review Vol. 3 (3) 5 (3) and 6 (2) should be there.

When you come to the UK we could try and sort out the material you need to look at. Please let us know when you are coming over.

Our administrator, Nicky Westwood, will not be in the office at the moment as it is the holiday period, but she would be a contact for you.

A wonderful project, Audrey







Last edited by herbsociety on December 27th, 2005, 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

December 27th, 2005, 3:15 pm #3

I was trying to find if the Whins still existed and found a PDF document of The British Journal of Nursing dated August 17,1918.

There was an article about the British Scientific Products Exhibition, which was due to open on September 7th. Among the exhibitors alongside Burroughs Wellcome, Allen & Hanburys, and Boots was Mrs Grieves.

“An exhibit which opens up to nurses a vista of an interesting hobby, which may also be a work of national utility, is that arranged by Mrs Grieve, F.R.S.H., who has a School of British Medicinal and Commercial Herb Growing at the Whins, Chalfont St. Peter, Bucks, which represents an organised determination to recapture from Germany and Austria the Herb Growing Industry, which those countries have won from Great Britain. Before the war we spent annually £200,000 on importations of drug-yielding Herbs which we could have grown. What more interesting for a nurse living in the country than the cultivation of medicinal herbs? It is further of interest that the demand for properly trained herb growers far exceeds supply, and good posts are obtainable for students when proficient.”


Audrey

Last edited by herbsociety on December 27th, 2005, 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Sarah Head
Sarah Head

January 4th, 2006, 8:12 pm #4

I posted Joan's request on a Scottish Discussion Board this afternoon and one of the members has suggested she try http://genforum.genealogy.com/grieve/

I hope this is useful

Sarah
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Joan Dugdale
Joan Dugdale

January 18th, 2006, 4:20 am #5

Many thanks, Audrey and Sarah, for the information and advice. I expect (fingers crossed!) to be in England in May, staying at Dorchester-on-Thames, and will certainly come to Banbury and the Herb Society Library. I hope I may meet some Members, too. Meanwhile, if any one should think of other avenues to explore, I would be most grateful if you'd let me know directly.
Best wishes,
Joan Dugdale.
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Evie Housham
Evie Housham

August 14th, 2006, 4:46 am #6

I'm an Australian member, a medical herbalist and published writer, and I'm currently researching for a biography of Maud Grieve, author of A Modern Herbal. As everyone will know, the Herbal was edited by Hilda Leyel. I am posting this message in the hope of turning up some information about Mrs Grieve and her collaboration with Mrs Leyel, or at least some clues as to where I might look. I apologise in advance for the length of the post.

Maud Grieve was an amazing intellect and, in the context of her time, an extraordinarily strong and independent business woman. For erudition, her Herbal has no equal in English, and yet very little is known about her. It seems wrong and sad to me that she should have no monument and no biography.

The census records show she was born Sophia Emma Magdalene Law in Islington in 1858, the daughter of a ladies' outfitter. The archives I have seen contain very little personal information and it seems Grieve was always more interested in promoting her work than herself. The Herbal Review, journal of The Herb Society, Vols 3(3),1978, 5 (3)1980, and 6(2)1981 has some useful articles about Grieve and Leyel. Volume 6 contains some very interesting correspondence from a Miss Monica Dunbar of Aylesbury, who knew Maud personally. It may be that there was follow-up correspondence to these articles in the Review. Does anyone know where the back copies might be stored? Perhaps there are members of Miss Dunbar's family still around Aylesbury who might have kept the family papers. Does anyone know?

Maud Law married William Somerville Grieve of Edinburgh in India in 1885. William was connected to two other prominent Edinburgh families, the Somervilles and the Symingtons. These families were paper makers, publishers, stationers and wine merchants. One of William's cousins, Symington Grieve, was a famous ornithologist who corresponded with Charles Darwin. I intend visiting the UK early in 2006, and going to Edinburgh University where there is some archival material. It may be that there is relevant family correspondence in Edinburgh, as well. If there are Scottish members who have some information about the Somerville and Symington Grieves I would be most grateful to hear from you.

During the first world war, Maud had an assistant called Edith Grey Wheelwright at her farm (The Whins, Chalfont St Peter). Ms Wheelwright later wrote The Physick Garden; Medicinal Plants and Their History; Jonathon Cape, 1934. Perhaps someone knows something of her family, and where her papers might be kept.

Maud was connected through her mother's sister, Harriet, to the family of Aquila Aspinall of Leeds, and, through her brother, to the Catmull family of Willesden. She also had two sisters, younger than herself: Margaret Ann and Eliza Caroline. At least one of them remained single and had power of attorney over Maud's estate in 1938. Maud died in Hitchin in 1941.

If any members know the whereabouts of correspondence between Grieve and Leyel, or the minutes of Herb Society meetings from the decade 1928-38, I would be most grateful if you'd let me know. Thank you for your patience with this lengthy screed.
Joan Dugdale, MNHAA,
21 a Park Rd,
Marrickville,
NSW 2204
AUSTRALIA.
+61295607544
joan@oz2000.com
Hello Joan

I am currently in my first year of studying Herbalism through the National Institute of Health Sciences, Australia. One of our assignments is to write about a person who we felt contributed to the evolution of Herbal Medicine, I chose Maud Grieve and during my search of the internet, I saw that you were going to write a book on her.
I greatly look forward to buying a copy when it comes out.

I don't know whether you have already found this little snippet, but Punch Vol.153, Oct 24 1917, had a little poem in it inspired by a letter written by a Mr. M Grieve, dated 12th October 1917. the link is. www.gutenberg.org/files/11076/11076-h/11076-h.htm

Good luck with the book.

Evie Housham
Herb Society Member # 2006111
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 14th, 2006, 2:15 pm #7

STANZAS ON TEA SHORTAGE.
[Mr. M. GRIEVE, writing from "The Whins," Chalfont St. Peter, in The Daily Mail of the 12th inst., suggests herb-teas to meet the shortage, as being far the most healthful substitutes. "They can also," he says, "be blended and arranged to suit the gastric idiosyncrasies of the individual consumer. A few of them are agrimony, comfrey, dandelion, camomile, woodruff, marjoram, hyssop, sage, horehound, tansy, thyme, rosemary, stinging-nettle and raspberry."]

Although, when luxuries must be resigned,

Such as cigars or even breakfast bacon,

My hitherto "unconquerable mind"

Its philosophic pose has not forsaken,

By one impending sacrifice I find

My stock of fortitude severely shaken—

I mean the dismal prospect of our losing

The genial cup that cheers without bemusing.

Blest liquor! dear to literary men,

Which Georgian writers used to drink like fishes,

When cocoa had not swum into their ken

And coffee failed to satisfy all wishes;

When tea was served to monarchs of the pen,

Like JOHNSON and his coterie, in "dishes,"

And came exclusively from far Cathay—

See "China's fragrant herb" in WORDSWORTH'S lay.

Beer prompted CALVERLEY'S immortal rhymes,

Extolling it as utterly eupeptic;

But on that point, in these exacting times,

The weight of evidence supports the sceptic;

Beer is not suitable for torrid climes

Or if your tendency is cataleptic;

But tea in moderation, freshly brewed,

Was never by Sir ANDREW CLARK tabooed.

We know for certain that the GRAND OLD MAN

Drank tea at midnight with complete impunity,

At least he long outlived the Psalmist's span

And from ill-health enjoyed a fine immunity;

Besides, robust Antipodeans can

And do drink tea at every opportunity;

While only Stoics nowadays contrive

To shun the cup that gilds the hour of five.

But war is war, and when we have to face

Shortage in tea as well as bread and boots

'Tis well to teach us how we may replace

The foreign brew by native substitutes,

Extracted from a vegetable base

In various wholesome plants and herbs and fruits,

"Arranged and blended," very much like teas,

To suit our "gastric idiosyncrasies."

It is a list for future use to file,

Including woodruff, marjoram and sage,

Thyme, agrimony, hyssop, camomile

(A name writ painfully on childhood's page),

Tansy, the jaded palate to beguile,

Horehound, laryngeal troubles to assuage,

And, for a cup ere mounting to the stirrup,

The stinging-nettle's stimulating syrup.

And yet I cannot, though I gladly would,

Forget the Babylonian monarch's cry,

"It may be wholesome, but it is not good,"

When grass became his only food supply;

Such weakness ought, of course, to be withstood,

But oh, it wrings the teardrop from my eye

To think of Polly putting on the kettle

To brew my daily dose of stinging-nettle!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 14th, 2006, 2:22 pm #8

Thanks Evie. The letter was obviously written by Mrs Grieve. She probably just signed it M Grieve.

A cup of herb tea obviously didn't do it for the anonymous poem writer.

This site that you directed us to can be copied.

Audrey
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Joan Dugdale
Joan Dugdale

August 20th, 2006, 7:19 am #9

STANZAS ON TEA SHORTAGE.
[Mr. M. GRIEVE, writing from "The Whins," Chalfont St. Peter, in The Daily Mail of the 12th inst., suggests herb-teas to meet the shortage, as being far the most healthful substitutes. "They can also," he says, "be blended and arranged to suit the gastric idiosyncrasies of the individual consumer. A few of them are agrimony, comfrey, dandelion, camomile, woodruff, marjoram, hyssop, sage, horehound, tansy, thyme, rosemary, stinging-nettle and raspberry."]

Although, when luxuries must be resigned,

Such as cigars or even breakfast bacon,

My hitherto "unconquerable mind"

Its philosophic pose has not forsaken,

By one impending sacrifice I find

My stock of fortitude severely shaken—

I mean the dismal prospect of our losing

The genial cup that cheers without bemusing.

Blest liquor! dear to literary men,

Which Georgian writers used to drink like fishes,

When cocoa had not swum into their ken

And coffee failed to satisfy all wishes;

When tea was served to monarchs of the pen,

Like JOHNSON and his coterie, in "dishes,"

And came exclusively from far Cathay—

See "China's fragrant herb" in WORDSWORTH'S lay.

Beer prompted CALVERLEY'S immortal rhymes,

Extolling it as utterly eupeptic;

But on that point, in these exacting times,

The weight of evidence supports the sceptic;

Beer is not suitable for torrid climes

Or if your tendency is cataleptic;

But tea in moderation, freshly brewed,

Was never by Sir ANDREW CLARK tabooed.

We know for certain that the GRAND OLD MAN

Drank tea at midnight with complete impunity,

At least he long outlived the Psalmist's span

And from ill-health enjoyed a fine immunity;

Besides, robust Antipodeans can

And do drink tea at every opportunity;

While only Stoics nowadays contrive

To shun the cup that gilds the hour of five.

But war is war, and when we have to face

Shortage in tea as well as bread and boots

'Tis well to teach us how we may replace

The foreign brew by native substitutes,

Extracted from a vegetable base

In various wholesome plants and herbs and fruits,

"Arranged and blended," very much like teas,

To suit our "gastric idiosyncrasies."

It is a list for future use to file,

Including woodruff, marjoram and sage,

Thyme, agrimony, hyssop, camomile

(A name writ painfully on childhood's page),

Tansy, the jaded palate to beguile,

Horehound, laryngeal troubles to assuage,

And, for a cup ere mounting to the stirrup,

The stinging-nettle's stimulating syrup.

And yet I cannot, though I gladly would,

Forget the Babylonian monarch's cry,

"It may be wholesome, but it is not good,"

When grass became his only food supply;

Such weakness ought, of course, to be withstood,

But oh, it wrings the teardrop from my eye

To think of Polly putting on the kettle

To brew my daily dose of stinging-nettle!


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Thanks very much, Evie, for your kind wishes and for the reference. Best wishes for your studies; I'm sure they will be rewarding. And thanks again to Audrey for reproducing the poem. I had found it on the web some time ago and relished it! The writer, I think, confuses camomile with calomel (HgCl) or mercurious chloride, formerly used as a purgative (hence "writ painfully on childhood's page") and as an antisyphylitic.
I'd like to thank Nicki, too, for her assistance to me and my husband when we visited Sulgrave Manor during our recent trip to the UK. We cluttered up her office on two occasions, and rifled the box of archival material under the eave. She was very patient with us!
I have had some encouraging messages of good will for the book from members and I'm grateful to everyone who has been interested enough to write to me. The work is slow but I hope to be back in England next year to continue sleuthing.
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Joined: January 1st, 1970, 12:00 am

August 20th, 2006, 9:39 am #10

Thanks Joan,
I couldn't understand that bit about chamomile. Mercury is being phased out of clinical thermometers now, so it is one of the nastier parts of allopathic medicine that mercury was used in teething powders.

I found when I was working that customers asked for chamomile lotion when they meant calamine.

It is strange that Mrs Grieve spent so long in India and yet did not mention any Indian herbs. Are you going to India to find out what went on there?

Audrey
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