Jemima Montgomery (1807 - 1893):
Jemima Montgomery was a novelist from Donegal; she was born in Seaview in that county. Her father was a landowner, and her uncle was Sir Henry Conyngham Montgomery, who followed a military career, mostly in India, and was created a baronet in 1808; later he was involved in politics, elected MP for Coventry (though he would have preferred Donegal). In 1838 (January 29) she married a German, Baron von Tautphoeus of Marquardtstein castle, a jurist and government official (Akzessist or Assessor) first in Swabia and then Upper Bavaria, and the couple settled in Germany.
She wrote several novels set in her new country, which novels William Makepeace Thackeray considered among the best representations of German life in the English language. The Initials from 1850 described the adventures of the Englishman Hamilton in Upper Bavaria including his romance with Hildegarde; it was widely read in its day, as was Quits from 1857, again with a romantic German-English pairing, though this time the sexes were reversed. Two later novels were less successful.
Her passing was reported in The New York Times under the headline "The Author Of The Initials - Death of Baroness Tautpheous Whose Novels Are Still Widely Read" (she had not published for thirty years). The paper noted both that she was a gifted writer of works "still fresh in the public minds"; but that in Germany her death had seemingly been completely ignored. She merited a mention in the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1911, however brief, which remarked simply that she was the author of several novels, written in English, describing South German life, manners and history.
Both her husband and son, a diplomat, predeceased her, dying within two weeks of one another (her son's name, Rudolf Edgeworth Josef von Tautphoeus, may indicate his mother's literary enthusiasms).
|Born:||23 October 1807|
|Died:||12 November 1893|
Dictionary of Irish Biography; Encyclopedia Britannica; The New York Times Archive
© 2020 Ulster History Circle