West, Rebecca, 1892-1983

Alternative names
Birth 1892-12-21
Death 1983-03-15

Biographical notes:

Rebecca West was a British author and journalist. Born Cicily Fairfield, of Scots-Irish heritage, she adopted the name of the strong-willed heroine of Ibsen's play, Rosmershmolm. She trained as an actress, but concentrated on writing and contributed to various liberal journals. In addition to social commentary and literary criticism, she wrote novels; her writing was distinguished by passion, intelligence, and style. Her personal life included a decade-long affair with H.G. Wells, affairs with Charlie Chaplin and Max Beaverbrook, and marriage to banker Henry Maxwell Andrews.

From the description of Rebecca West letters, 1937-1976. (Pennsylvania State University Libraries). WorldCat record id: 56550681

Rebecca West (1892-1983), British novelist, journalist and essayist, is best known for her Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1942), The Meaning of Treason (1949), and A Train of Powder (1955).

From the description of Rebecca West collection, 1913-[ongoing] (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 81845081

From the description of Rebecca West collection, 1913-[ongoing]. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702148473

Born December 21, 1892 in Westbourne Park, London, Dame Rebecca was the youngest of three children, all girls. Christened Cicely [subsequently spelled Cicily] Isabel Fairfield, she demonstrated an early aptitude for writing but was determined to be an actress. After studying at the Royal Academy of Art she worked on stage for about a year, and in 1911 began writing for the feminist magazine Freewoman. In order to save her family embarrassment regarding this latter employment she adopted as a pseudonym the name of one of the roles she portrayed on stage, that of the rebellious heroine in Ibsen's Rosmersholm: Rebecca West. West met H.G. Wells in 1912 and bore his son, Anthony Panther West in August 1914. She remained one of Wells's mistresses for ten years. She continued to write both fiction and non-fiction: short stories, novels, feminist and socialist essays, biography and literary criticism. West married a banker, Henry Maxwell Andrews in 1930, was made Commander of the British Empire in 1949, and Dame Commander in 1959. She died in London on the morning of March 15, 1983.

From the guide to the West, R. mss., 1907-1984, (Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington))

Rebecca West, born Cicely Isabel Fairfield, was a British novelist, biographer, literary critic, and essayist.

From the description of Rebecca West collection of papers, 1916-1975. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122485842

From the guide to the Rebecca West collection of papers, 1916-1975, (The New York Public Library. Henry W. and Albert A. Berg Collection of English and American Literature.)

Rebecca West (1892-1983), author and essayist, is best known for such works as Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, and The Meaning of Treason.

From the description of Rebecca West papers 1894-1975. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702132980


From the description of Letters, 1907-1984. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 40866423

English novelist and journalist.

From the description of Autograph and typed letters signed (30) : Ibstone House and Princes Gate, to Vera Watson and Maboth Moseley, ca. 1946-1982. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 270872476

Rebecca West (1892-1983), author and essayist, is best known for such works as Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, and The Meaning of Treason.

Arthur G. McDowell (1909-1966) was Acting Executive Director of the Socialist Party (U.S.A.) during the Spanish Civil War. He later became Director of International Relations of the Upholsterers' International Union and helped to found the Council Against Communist Aggression. He died in an automobile accident on October 6, 1966.

From the description of Rebecca West letters to Arthur G. McDowell and Janet McDowell, 1953-1970. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702182329

Rebecca West is the pseudonym of Cicely Isabel Fairfield, British journalist and novelist. Her major works include Black Lamb and Grey Falcon (1942), a study of Yugoslavia; A Train of Powder (1955), reports on the Nuremberg Trials; and The Meaning of Treason (1949), on the trial of William Joyce, who broadcast for Nazi Germany as Lord Haw-Haw. Among her novels are The Return of the Soldier (1918), The Fountain Overflows (1957), and The Birds Fall Down (1966). She was created Dame of the British Empire in 1959.

West's decade-long relationship with H. G. Wells produced one son, Anthony Panther West, born in 1914. In 1930 West married the banker Henry Andrews, who died in 1968.

For further information consult the Dictionary of National Biography .

From the guide to the Rebecca West collection, 1913-[ongoing], (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)


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  • Literature--History and criticism
  • Women authors, English--Correspondence
  • Authors, English--20th century--Correspondence
  • Authors, English--Correspondence
  • Authors, English--20th century--Archives
  • English literature--20th century
  • Authors, English--20th century
  • Fiction--20th century
  • Women authors


  • Writer


  • London, ENG, GB
  • London, ENG, GB