The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

Flora and Alice Macdonald Mayor

Flora and Alice Macdonald Mayor

A carte-de-visite portrait of two infants sitting in a three-wheeled pushchair. An inked inscription verso in a period hand identifies them as ‘Flora and Alice / aged 18 months’ and gives the date, 24 April 1874.

Flora Macdonald Mayor and Alice Macdonald Mayor were born on 20 October 1872 at Kingston Hill, Surrey. Their father, Joseph Bickersteth Mayor (1828–1916), was an Anglican clergyman and professor of classics and then of moral philosophy at King's College London. Their mother, Alexandrina Jessie Grote (1830–1927), was niece of the utilitarian George Grote as well as the Anglican clergyman and Cambridge moral philosophy professor John Grote.

Flora read history at Newnham College, Cambridge. She afterwards became an actress but later turned to writing. Her first book was a collection of short stories, Mrs Hammond's Children, published in 1902 under the pseudonym, Mary Strafford. Subsequently she published her works as M.R. Mayor. In 1913 her short novel, The Third Miss Symons, appeared, with a preface by John Masefield. Her best-known novel is The Rector's Daughter (1924). She also wrote ghost stories, which were much admired by M.R. James.

In 1903 Flora became engaged to a young architect, Ernest Shepherd, who died in India of typhoid before Flora was able to travel out to join him. She never married, and lived closely with her twin sister Alice. Flora died in 1932. Alice died in 1961.

Photographed by Byrne and Co of Richmond in Surrey.


Code: 125326
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