(Maria Henriette de la Cherois-Crommelin)
(1849 - 1930)
Maria Henrietta de la Cherois Crommelin, known as May Crommelin, (1849 - 1930) was a novelist and travel writer born in Northern Ireland at Carrowdore Castle in County Down.
While growing up, she and her family often lived elsewhere because of the political situation at home, and Crommelin was educated by governesses. After the death of her traditionalist father in 1885 she lived independently in her own flat in London. Though her family were "gentry", descended from the Huguenot linen merchant Louis Crommelin of Lisburn, they were not at all wealthy, and Crommelin earned a living by writing. One of her cousins was the astronomer Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin.
She travelled widely, going to the Andes, the West Indies, North Africa and elsewhere, and was also a productive novelist, starting with her novel Queenie which was published in 1874. She contributed travel pieces and short stories to magazines like The Idler.
Crommelin's work is not well-known today. Her travel writing seems romanticised to contemporary critics, and her fiction melodramatic.[Additional note from Angélique Day:
It should be noted that May worked in 3 London hospitals during WW I and assisted Belgian refugees. Also, even if her fiction is somewhat melodramatic, historians are now using such novels as sources for attitudes, emotions and other history.
1899 poster advertising Bay Ronald, a "thrilling domestic drama",
with photograph of an oil portrait of May Crommelin.
Oxford Companion to Edwardian Fiction 1900-14: New Voices in the Age of Uncertainty, ed.Kemp, Mitchell, Trotter (OUP 1997)
The Bibliophile Dictionary, ed. Dole, Morgan, Ticknor (1904)
Evelyn O'Callaghan, "A Hot Place, belonging to Us": The West Indies in Nineteenth Century Travel Writing by Women in Landscape and Empire ed. Hooper (Ashgate 2005)