Monday, July 9, 2012

Monday Madwoman: Edith Craig

Edith "Edy" Ailsa Geraldine Craig was the daughter and frequent collaborator of the great Shakespearean actress Ellen Terry (they are pictured together at left). She was a silent film star, a costume designer, an actress, and a theatrical pioneer. She was also a memoirist and museum curator at Smallhythe, her mother's home.  For a time, she was involved in publishing and the feminist bookstore and cultural center the International Suffrage Shop.

In 1919, her Pioneer Players performed Susan Glaspell's feminist classic Trifles (1916), and she oversaw two successful performances in October 1925 of The White Divel at the Scala Theater for the Renaissance Theatre Society. The play had not previously been revived since 1682, according to the production notes.

She lived and worked with the artist Clare "Tony" Atwood and Christabel Marshall, later Christopher Marie St. John, for over thirty years, until her death in 1947.  (They are pictured together below.) Contemporaries such as Radclyffe Hall and Una Troubridge, Vera Holme, Vita Sackville West, and Virginia Woolf were friends and visitors.

Webster's flaming heroine would have been well served.

Further Resources:

Ellen Terry and Edith Craig Papers

Edith Craig's letters (OAC database)

Edith Craig at the Orlando Project

Katherine Cockin biography

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