Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey
(pseudonym of Jessie Mansergh, née Bell)

Born 1857. Died 1917 Jan 23. Used pseudonyms, mostly “Mrs George de Horne Vaizey”.

A letter from Frank Young, who offered to find out a little more about Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey.

Here is a draft text for you, adapted from the web page listed below. I hope it is satisfactory. The bibliography is, I believe, exhaustive for her. There are no published biographies.

I believe John Ernest Vaizey, later Lord Vaizey (1929-1984), the economist of public education, was her grandson; and that Marina Vaizey, the writer on art, is either her granddaughter or her great-granddaughter, but I can’t prove either yet.

Regards, Frank Young. Kensington, Maryland.

Jessie Bell (Mrs. Henry Mansergh, Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey)

1857-1917

Jessie Bell, later Mrs. Henry Mansergh, and then Mrs. George de Horne Vaizey, was born in Liverpool, in 1857, into a family of seven children—she had four brothers and two sisters. In 1883, she married Henry Mansergh. Their only daughter, Gwyneth Alice, was born in 1886. The Manserghs moved several times, but always remained in the vicinity of Liverpool. Henry Mansergh seems to have been either an alcoholic or addicted to drugs. In either case, he died of kidney disease in May, 1894.

At about the time of her first husband’s death, her short stories began to appear in magazines in 1894. Her daughter, Gwyneth, then about twelve, found an unpublished manuscript of her mother’s in a drawer and sent it in to a short story competition. Jessie won the contest, whose prize was a Mediterranean cruise. Jessie met George de Horne Vaizey on that cruise. She married him in 1898 and they moved to Broxbourne in Hertfordshire. Their son, George de Horne Vaizey the younger, who was later to become a writer himself, was born in 1900.

Early in the century, she contracted typhoid, and then developed rheumatoid arthritis. The latter condition left her permanently crippled, in a wheelchair, for the rest of her life. In spite of her affliction, she continued to write. She died in Hampstead after an operation for appendicitis.

Jessie wrote thirty-three books, and many short stories and magazine articles. She often used her own varied experiences in her books. She used situations from her early life in a large family, her first husband’s addiction and death, and her own illnesses in her novels.

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e-Texts constructed from nineteenth and early twentieth century books by Athelstane. Copyright 2003,2004