Mary Trevelyan: From Child to Mother on Page Turners

The second instalment of digitized Trevelyan family albums is now available on Page Turners. A brief introduction to this resource and the Trevelyan albums was given in our launch post last month. We’re happy to say that a further three albums have now gone live, along with contextual information which allows you to search for individuals, places, or learn more about the images.

This group includes the first (although not the earliest) volume in the collection – Volume One. Begun in 1894, when Mary Katharine Trevelyan [Molly] was 13 or 14 years old, it gives a valuable insight into her life before her marriage to Charles Philips Trevelyan. Born into the Bell family, wealthy industrialists in Middlesbrough, Molly’s father Sir Hugh Bell had joined the family firm, becoming director of the Bell Brothers’ steelworks in the town. Her mother, Florence Bell nee Olliffe was an author and playwright. Her family’s is perhaps most famously known for her half-sister Gertrude Bell, the archaeologist and diplomat.

Picture of Molly by Lilian Bell, 1894 (CPT/PA/1)

Picture of Molly by Lilian Bell, 1894 (CPT/PA/1)

In the seven years covered by the album we see Molly and her extended family relaxing at properties in Red Car, Mount Grace and Sloane Street, London. There are also souvenirs from time spent in Germany in 1900, including concert programmes from Weimar and Berlin. The final few pages give an inkling of the following volumes’ content, as pictures from a visit to Wallington feature, with photographs of the impressive great hall and the exterior, as well as picnics with her future husband Charles on the estate which they would eventually manage together.

Great Hall at Wallington, 1903 (CPT/PA/1)

Great Hall at Wallington, 1903 (CPT/PA/1)

Volume three, which also appears in this group, shows the early years of Molly and Charles’ married life together (1904-1906). At this point, their lives were split between Cambo House on the Wallington Estate, and Great College Street, Westminster, this album begins with many photographs of the couples’ friends, visits to family at Stocks House (the childhood home of Charles’ sister in law Janet Trevelyan nee Ward), Welcombe (a second home of Charles’ parents George Otto and Lady Caroline Trevelyan) and Rounton Grange (the Bell family home, recently inherited by Molly’s parents). Their love of animals is evident in the frequent photographs of cats and dogs, which appear alongside newspaper cuttings discussing Charles’ career as Liberal Member of Parliament for the Elland constituency in Yorkshire. The album ends with the birth of their eldest child (and first of seven), Pauline Trevelyan (later, Pauline Dower).

Sir Hugh Bell and Pauline Trevelyan, 1905, CPT/PA/3

Volume five continues on from volume three (handwritten notes added later by Pauline state that ‘there never was a vol. 4 a mistake in the binding!’). This album includes the arrival of their next two children, George Lowthian [Geordie] and Katharine [Kitty]. This album includes many photographs of their three eldest children playing together when young, as well as photographs and souvenirs of Charles and Molly’s trip to Italy. Marriage is very much a key feature of this album, and many invitations to weddings of their friends and family are included, as well as photographs and souvenirs from the wedding of Molly’s sister Elsa to Admiral Sir Herbert William Richmond (the parents of Lady Bridget Plowden].

Molly with Pauline and George Trevelyan, 1907, CPT/PA/4

The content of these albums shows the shifting focus of Molly’s world as she transitions from a teenager in an industrialist family to being the wife of a politician and heir to a landed estate and the mother of three young children. Consistent to all the albums though, is the importance of family. The scrapbook style combination of private photographs, souvenirs and publications, gives an intriguing insight into both the private and public worlds of the Trevelyan and Bell families. One which will hopefully be further understood once the ongoing cataloguing of the family correspondence is complete.

America enters World War One

6th April 2017 marks the centenary of America entering World War I. Until this point President Woodrow Wilson had outwardly shown a neutral stance whilst allowing the banks to make loans to Britain and France. At this point the majority of American citizens were of European origin, descendants of immigrants who were of previous generations who showed little interest in the war.

However, early in 1917 two major events occurred leading President Wilson to break off diplomatic relations with Germany in the first instance, and made a speech to Congress on the 2nd April (copy of speech available at WR 163 ‘America and Freedom being the statements of President Wilson on the War with a Preface by Rt. Hon. Viscount Grey’).

America declared war on Germany four days later.

The first event which led to this was the increased German aggression shown over the Atlantic. Here, all boats heading towards Europe, no matter the nationality or purpose of vessel, were targets for sinking by U-boats.

The second was the incident of the Zimmermann telegram – a communication from Germany to Mexico which proposed a military alliance between the two countries should America join the War. However, this telegram was intercepted by British intelligence.

At the same time in Europe, there were contrasting emotions from two brothers towards the war and America’s involvement.

George Macaulay Trevelyan was based in Italy commanding an ambulance unit for the British Red Cross, and in a letter to his father he expressed his feelings on America entering the war.

Above extracts are taken from a letter in the George Otto Trevelyan Archive GOT 151/1/1 – GOT 151/1/2

Letter from the George Otto Trevelyan Archive GOT 151/1/1 – GOT 151/1/2

SSir!

 I am going out to shake the hand of an American citizen, the first I can find in this Eternal City, on the occasion of his country breaking off diplomatic relations with Germany.

I shall also leave my card at the American Embassy.

My only regret is that by a strange chance I was in New York during the Italians Days? of May 1915 and in Rome during the present American crisis.

I saw our Ambassador yesterday and he told me that he felt sure the war would not go on till next year; he evidently thought the germans were in a bad way unless their submarine campaign can force us to compromise with them. If the war does end this year the affairs of our unit on which H. E. puts a high value, will be relatively easy.

I return to the front tomorrow

Your affectionate son

George Trevelyan
(Extract from GOT 151)

On the other hand, George’s brother Charles Philips Trevelyan, Liberal MP and Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education was against the war.  He had already resigned his post and been a founder member of the Union of Democratic Control – a pressure group containing MPs from both the Liberal and Labour parties and included various influential figures such as author Norman Angell and journalist E. D. Morel. They were against conscription, and wanted more negotiations.

During a speech at Bradford, Charles spoke about the number of casualties and America’s position in the war at that time. Three months later at Hammersmith he spoke about America’s entry into the war.

Above extracts are taken from a letter in the Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT 46/14 - CPT 46/15

Notes for a speech from Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT 46/14 – CPT 46/15

Word peace has been spoken
been for many days and months
That is the beginning of the end – 

Only question whether several millions more men killed or maimed before national governments begin negotiations.
……………………..
Present situation
Great change in last month
Began with President Wilson asking belligerents to state terms.
When I think of the abuse levelled against me and my friends –

For 18 months demanding negotiations- negotiated note a dictated pence –
For 18 months for government to state terms.

Cannot ignore President Wilson – voice reverberates throughout world – as the megaphone of will of peaceful millions of America.
(Extracts from CPT 46/14 – CPT 46/15)

At the time of this speech there were eight million dead as a result of the war.

Extract taken from a letter in the Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT 46/56

Extract taken from a letter in the Charles Philips Trevelyan Archive, CPT 46/56

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Entry of America 
Strike member U.D.C right way and wrong way to go to war. Pres. Wilson made nation confidant – every step of policy overt – acted slowly and deliberately laying down his policy in magnificent declarations. Soberly and with full knowledge. 

Contrast to every European nation. The victim and tool of secret coteries of Kings – ministers- or bureaucrats.

Trevelyan then continues about America bringing a “Breath of healthy idealism to blow away the over…..? ambitions overlaid the finer of our national objects” and wanting nothing from the War.

Exactly the same things in mind as in his previous utterances”. We of U.D.C. cannot ask for peace on better terms because what we have advocated for two years”
(Extracts from CPT 46/56)

With America’s involvement the war lasted another 19 months, and had been dubbed the war to end all wars. However, Charles Philips Trevelyan’s anti-war stance contributed to his rejection from his constituency and he lost his seat in 1918. Four years later, after changing his political allegiance to the Labour Party, he became M.P. for Newcastle Central becoming President of the Board of Education in 1924. The Union of Democratic Control was eventually disbanded in the 1960s.