Sherard, Robert Harborough, 1861-1943

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1861-12-03
Death 1943-01-30
Britons
English

Biographical notes:

Epithet: of Add MS 36182

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000878.0x0002ad

Epithet: afterwards 4th Earl of Harborough; Prebendary of Salisbury

British Library Archives and Manuscripts Catalogue : Person : Description : ark:/81055/vdc_100000000878.0x0002b3

Robert Harborough Sherard was born in London on December 3, 1861, the fourth child of the Reverend Bennet Sherard Calcraft Kennedy, the illegitimate son of the sixth and last Earl of Harborough. His mother was Jane Stanley Wordsworth, granddaughter of the poet. His education at New College, Oxford and then at the University of Bonn was interrupted multiple times because of financial problems. At the age of twenty he settled in Paris to earn his living as a journalist and novelist, where he became acquainted with leading French literary figures of the eighties and nineties, including Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant and Alphonse Daudet. He also became friends with Oscar Wilde, although they fell out after Wilde's release from prison. In 1902, two years after Wilde's death, he published 'Oscar Wilde: the story of an unhappy friendship', which was to be the first of several works in which he maintained Wilde's innocence of the charge of homosexuality. Others include 'Oscar Wilde twice defended' (1934) and 'Bernard Shaw, Frank Harris and Oscar Wilde' (1936). Sherard supported himself mostly through journalism, contributing articles to papers in France, England and America. He was also a prolific writer of novels, biographies and social commentaries, publishing thirty-three works in total. He lived in France for most of his life but died in Ealing (UK) on January 30, 1943.

Francis Watson was born in Dudley, Worcestershire (UK) and attended St. John's College, Cambridge. He worked for a number of publishing companies before spending nearly four decades working at the Wallace Collection in London, where he published a widely acclaimed furniture catalog. In 1947 he was given the appointment of deputy surveyor of the King's works of art. Watson was a prolific writer, including very many radio programs. He is probably best known for his biography of Dawson of Penn and for his publications on eighteenth-century decorative arts.

Glennyth M. Woods (born in 1914 in Oregon) was a correspondent of Robert Sherard who first contacted him because of her interest in Oscar Wilde. Sherard thought of her as an adopted niece because she shared the same first name as one of his nieces. A published author, Woods worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington D.C. and also lived in Denver for a time. She went with the 82nd Airborne Division to England with the American Red Cross during World War II.

From the description of Glennyth M. Woods and Francis Watson collections on Robert Harborough Sherard, 1881-1987 (University of California, Los Angeles). WorldCat record id: 374599647

Robert Sherard was a journalist and prolific author, born in Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, the son of Reverend Bennet Sherard Kennedy and a great-grandson of William Wordsworth. His family lived on the continent for much of his youth and he was educated in Italy, Germany, and Guernsey (where his family shared "Hauteville House" with Victor Hugo in the 1870's). He spent only part of a year in New College, Oxford, and moved to Naples after a terrible fight with his father, who cut off his inheritance. He dropped the surname Kennedy and moved to Paris in 1882 to begin his writing career. In Paris he met Oscar Wilde, who was probably attracted by Sherard's good looks (Sherard was a heterosexual and never understood Wilde's homosexuality). Sherard lived in France from 1883-1885; England from 1895-1900; and France again from 1901-1906. Later he lived in St. Malmo and then in Corsica where he died. He was married to Matha Lipska, 1887-1906 (the marriage ended in divorce), then to Irene Osgood, a wealthy American widow, from 1908-1915 (the marriage also ended in divorce). He was violent, alcoholic, and syphilitic, a difficult man to live with. He is probably best known today as a friend and biographer of Oscar Wilde. Although most of his income came from journalism, writing on working conditions and urban poverty, he published 33 books which include 14 novels (mostly thrillers). He wrote biographies of Wilde, Oscar Wilde: the Story of an Unhappy Friendship (1902), The Life of Oscar Wilde (1906), and The Real Oscar Wilde (1917), Emile Zola (1893), Alphonese Daudet (1894), and Guy DeMaupassant (1926), as well as The White Slaves of England (1897), The Cry of the Poor (1901), and others. The latter are the result of his investigative reporting.

Samuel Sydney McClure,1857-1949, was an editor, publisher, and founder of McClure's Magazine.

From the description of Letters to S.S. McClure and "Dear Sir", 1894 July 16, September 11. (University of Virginia). WorldCat record id: 61346510

Biography

Robert Harborough Sherard:

Robert Harborough Sherard was born in London on December 3, 1861, the fourth child of the Reverend Bennet Sherard Calcraft Kennedy, the illegitimate son of the sixth and last Earl of Harborough. His mother was Jane Stanley Wordsworth, granddaughter of the poet. In 1880 he went up to New College, Oxford but after a quarrel with his father, who cut him off from the expected family inheritance, was forced to leave for financial reasons. At this time he dropped the surname Kennedy. He left for Europe and later enrolled at the University of Bonn to study law and oriental languages, but again had to leave for lack of money.

At the age of twenty he settled in Paris to earn his living as a journalist and novelist. In Paris he became acquainted with a number of the leading French literary figures of the eighties and nineties, including Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant and Alphonse Daudet, and also with Oscar Wilde, with whom he formed a close friendship, although they fell out after Wilde's release from prison. In 1902, two years after Wilde's death, he published 'Oscar Wilde: the story of an unhappy friendship', which was to be the first of several works in which he maintained Wilde's innocence of the charge of homosexuality. Others include 'Oscar Wilde twice defended' (1934) and 'Bernard Shaw, Frank Harris and Oscar Wilde' (1936).

Sherard supported himself mostly through journalism, contributing articles to papers in France, England and America. He was also a prolific writer of novels, biographies and social commentaries, publishing thirty-three works in total. The biographies, besides those on Wilde, are 'Emile Zola' (1893), 'Alphonse Daudet' (1894), and 'Guy de Maupassant' (1926). His social investigations, during which he lived with the poor and studied their conditions, resulted in works such as 'The White Slaves of England' (1897). In 1933 he founded the Vindex Publishing Co., Calvi, in Corsica, and he used this base to publish several pamphlets he wrote attacking Gide's biography of Wilde. He lived in France for most of his life but died in Ealing (UK) on January 30, 1943.

Francis Watson:

Francis Watson was born in Dudley, Worcestershire (UK) and attended St. John's College, Cambridge. He worked for a number of publishing companies before spending nearly four decades working at the Wallace Collection in London, where he published a widely acclaimed furniture catalog. In 1947 he was given the appointment of deputy surveyor of the King's works of art. Watson was a prolific writer, including very many radio programs. He is probably best known for his biography of Dawson of Penn and for his publications on eighteenth-century decorative arts.

Glennyth M. Woods Holtz:

Glennyth M. Woods (born in 1914 in Oregon) was a correspondent of Robert Sherard who first contacted him because of her interest in Oscar Wilde. Sherard thought of her as an adopted niece because she shared the same first name as one of his nieces. A published author, Woods worked at the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington D.C. and also lived in Denver for a time. She went with the 82nd Airborne Division to England with the American Red Cross during World War II and returned in January of 1946 on the Queen Mary. She later married Oscar Holtz.

From the guide to the Robert Harborough Sherard Collection, 1881-1987, (William Andrews Clark Memorial Library)

Robert Harborough Sherard (1861-1943), author, was born in London on 3 December 1861, and attended Queen Elizabeth College, Guernsey; New College, Oxford; and Bonn University. He was special correspondent for English, American and Australian newspapers and reviews in various parts of the world from 1884. Sherard married Alice Muriel Fiddian in 1928, and founded the Vindex Publishing Company, Calvi, in 1933. He was the author of works on Oscar Wilde. He died on 30 January 1943.

Douglas William Gray was a Perth journalist who disseminated Sherard's ideas in the West Australian and other publications.

From the guide to the Robert Sherard: Letters to Douglas Gray, 1933-1940, (Cambridge University Library, Department of Manuscripts and University Archives)

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Subjects:

  • Authors--20th century--Archives
  • Wilde, Oscar, 1854-1900
  • Watson, Francis,1907-
  • Authors--20th century--Correspondence

Occupations:

not available for this record

Places:

  • Mayfield, Sussex (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania, U.S.A. (as recorded)
  • West Looe, Cornwall (as recorded)
  • Scotland, Kingdom of, United Kingdom (as recorded)
  • Mosquito Coast, Central America (as recorded)
  • Scotland, Kingdom of, United Kingdom (as recorded)
  • Shepton Mallet, Somerset (as recorded)
  • Hunslet, Yorkshire (as recorded)
  • Maryland, N. America (as recorded)
  • Shrewsbury, Shropshire (as recorded)
  • Pennsylvania, U.S.A. (as recorded)
  • Ireland, Europe (as recorded)
  • Seaford, Sussex (as recorded)