“You Are Just the Person to Write, Why Don’t You?”



When Ada and John Galsworthy married, at the fashionable St George’s, Hanover Square, on 23 September 1905, she signed her name as Ada Nemesis Pearson Cooper Galsworthy, the daughter of Emanuel Cooper. John’s two sisters were the witnesses signing the marriage certificate.1 Marrot’s biography also claims that she was “the daughter of Emanuel Cooper, MD, of Norwich”,2 although it says not another word about her or her background before her first marriage to Arthur Galsworthy on 30 April 1891. Later documents, like a 1936 passport3 and a French identity card from the First World War,4 consistently give her date of birth as 21 November 1866, the date that is also used in the elaborate family tree that Galsworthy began and Rudolf Sauter completed. Yet, as Catherine Dupré has demonstrated, in her 1976 biography, Ada was probably not Dr Cooper’s daughter and was probably born, illegitimately, on 21 November 1864.5 A prominent obstetrician in Norwich during the 1860s and 1870s, Dr Cooper was fond of making elaborate wills. He first mentions Ada in a will dated 24 August 1866, describing her as less than two years’ old and living with her brother, Arthur Charles, two years older than she, and her mother at 36 Victoria Street in Norwich, a house Dr Cooper owned but did not live in.


Love Affair Creative Energy Military Career August 1866 Marriage Certificate 
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  1. 22.
    The only unequivocal statement that they met at Biarritz appears in the introduction to Anthony West’s The Galsworthy Reader (New York: Scribner’s, 1968) p. xi. Since West’s account appears to be drawn only from family sources, otherwise consistently less certain, the firmness of his attribution is questionable.Google Scholar
  2. 59.
    John Fisher, “The Ada Galsworthy Saga”, The Times (London), 18 Sep. 1976, p. 6.Google Scholar
  3. 66.
    RHS, interview, 6 June 1974; confirmed in RHS letter to Genji Takahashi, 16 March 1968; quoted in Genji Takahashi, Studies in the Works of John Galsworthy with Special Reference to his Visions of Love and Beauty (Tokyo: Shinozaki Shorin, 1970) p. 362.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© James Gindin 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MichiganUSA

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