Mrs Humphry Ward

Mary Augusta Ward (1851-1920)

Illustration from Mrs Humphrey Ward: The marriage of William Ashe (Sp Coll Z1-a.5)The collection provides rich material for research on the work of the novelist Mary Augusta Ward (Mrs Humphry Ward), ‘eminent Victorian, pre-eminent Edwardian’ as John Sutherland calls her. The prolific novelist’s work amounts to more than 25 book-length pieces of fiction, including several first editions and many richly illustrated early editions. The holdings of her fiction are also complemented by some of her less extensive yet equally significant volumes of translation and war reporting.

This large collection of fiction charts Mary Ward’s development as a novelist and woman of letters, as well a philanthropist and political lobbyist. Her productivity and popularity during her lifetime ironically turned her into a target for debunking by the 1930s. Ward's most popular fiction included Robert Elsmere (1888), a novel on the major Victorian topic of religious faith and doubt, a theme which she explores also in David Grieve (1892). These two novels turned ‘Mrs Humphry Ward’into the most successful author of her period. The Novel collection holds these texts in early editions.

Mary Augusta Ward – grand-daughter of Thomas Arnold and niece of Matthew Arnold – was no less committed to the ethos of public service than her famous relatives, and her philanthropy was expressed in the Settlement for the working classes in the St. Pancras area of London. Initially founded on Unitarian principles, the centres also pioneered the children’s play movement. The Library holds several texts articulating her stance on education and social welfare issues, including her preface to Beatrice Webb’s The Case For the Factory Acts (1901).

Mary Ward also devoted ten years of her active life to running the Women’s Anti- Suffrage Association, for whom she edited The Anti-Suffrage Review (1908-1918). Her complex stance of a principled support for women and her simultaneous hostility to militant suffragism is voiced in her novel Delia Blanchflower (1915).

While siding with the losing cause of anti-suffrage did little to improve Mary Ward’s standing with posterity, her heroic and patriotic participation in the First World War greatly enhanced her public reputation. The elderly writer worked as a war correspondent on the French front, covering the war as an eye-witness for British readers. At Roosevelt’s request, she wrote propaganda for the American market: England’s Effort (1916), was followed by Towards the Goal (1917). These volumes and her war novel Missing (1917) all of which are available in the Library, help us understand one possible slant of the complex relationship between women’s fiction, women’s ethos and the Great War.

Mary Ward’s last literary effort, her autobiographical A Writer’s Recollections (1918) offers an interesting insight into Oxford’s and London’s literary life during the Victorian-Edwardian era.


Mary Augusta Ward published altogether 26 full-length pieces of fiction. Our Collection holds 21 of these titles. Only three novels have been reprinted in modern editions: Marcella, Helbeck, and Robert Elsmere. The rest of her novels are available only in early editions. According to COPAC, her works are available in fewer than twenty British research libraries and no more than five other libraries in Great Britain have her novels Harvest, The War and Elizabeth and Lady Rose’s Daughter.

Bibliography of Mary Augusta Ward's works in the Novel Collection

The titles are listed chronologically.

For detailed bibliographical information and holdings details, please click on the link after the relevant title (this will take you to the main library catalogue records).

The History of David Grieve, London: Smith, Elder, 1892. New York: Macmillan, 1892. Sp Coll Z1-a.2  and London: George Newnes, 1900 Sp Coll Z1-c.23/2

The Story of Bessie Costrell, London: Smith, Elder, 1892. New York: Macmillan, 1895. Sp Coll Z1-a.13

Sir George Tressady, London: Smith, Elder, 1896. New York: Macmillan, 1896. Sp Coll Z1-a.6

Helbeck of Bannisdale, London: Smith, Elder, 1898. New York: Macmillan, 1898. Sp Coll Z1-a.8

Eleanor, London: Smith, Elder, 1900. New York: Harper, 1900. Sp Coll Z1-a.4 
Lady Rose's Daughter, London: Smith-Elder, 1903. New York: Harper, 1903. Sp Coll Z1-a.14

The Marriage of William Ashe, London: Smith-Elder, 1905. New York: Harper, 1905. Sp Coll Z1-a.5

Fenwick's Career, London: Smith, Elder, 1906. New York: Harper, 1906. Sp Coll Z1-a.10

Diana Mallory (in the USA The Testing of Diana Mallory), London: Smith, Elder, 1908. New York: Harper, 1908. Sp Coll Z1-a.11

Canadian Born (in the USA Lady Merton, Colonist), London: Smith, Elder, 1910. New York: Doubleday, 1910. Sp Coll Z1-a.9

The Case of Richard Meynell, London: Smith, Elder, 1911. New York: Doubleday, 1911. Sp Coll Z1-a.7

The Coryston Family, London: Smith, Elder, 1913. New York: Harper, 1913. Sp Coll Z1-a.16

The Mating of Lydia, London: Smith, Elder, 1913. New York: Doubleday, 1913. Sp Coll Z1-a.15

Robert Elsmere, London : John Murray, 1914. Sp Coll Z1-a.1

Marcella, London: John Murray, 1915. Sp Coll Z1-a.3

Lady Connie, London: Smith, Elder, 1916. New York: Hearst, 1916. Sp Coll Z1-a.12

Missing, London: Collins, 1917. New York, Dodd, Mead, 1917.Sp Coll Z1-a.18

The War and Elizabeth (in USA: Elizabeth's Campaign), London: Collins, 1918. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1918. Sp Coll Z1-a.17

Harvest, London: Collins, 1920. New York: Dodd, Mead, 1920 (dated 1919). Sp Coll Z1-a.19

Mrs Humphry Ward's works held elsewhere in University of Glasgow Library

For bibliographical and holdings details, click on shelf-mark links to see the main library description of each book.


The history of David Grieve, London: Smith, Elder, 1893  Level 9 Main Lib English MW44.H4 1893

Robert Elsmere,1898  Level 9 Main Lib English MW44.R6 1898

Eleanor, 1900 Level 9 Main Lib English MW44.E5 1900

The marriage of William Ashe, London : John Murray, 1905  Level 9 Main Lib English MW44.M2 1905

Helbeck of Bannisdale, New York: Garland Pub, 1975. Level 9 Main Lib English F204 VIC Vol 19

Marcella, Peterborough, Ont. ; Ormskirk, Lancs.: Broadview, 2002. Level 9 Main Lib English MW44.M15 2002-S


Thomas Arnold, journalist and historian (with C.E. Montague.), Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1907. Level 9 Main Lib Gen Lit N722 WAR

England's effort: six letters to an American friend, London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1917. Library Research Annexe AA1 (superscript 2)-e.17

Towards the goal, London: John Murray, 1917. Library Research Annexe Cc7-e.7

A writer's recollections, London: W. Collins, 1919.  Level 9 Main Lib English MW44.W7 1919

Introductions and prefaces

Henri Frédéric Amiel, Amiel's journal: the journal in time of Henri-Frédéric Amiel. Translated with an introduction and notes by Mrs. Humphry Ward. London: Macmillan, 1889. Level 9 Main Lib French LA130.D4E 1889-W

Joseph Joubert, A selection from his Thoughts, Translated by Katharine Lyttelton; with a preface by Mrs. Humphry Ward. London: Duckworth, 1898.  Level 9 Main Lib French LJ70.P3E 1898-L

W. T. Arnold, Studies of Roman imperialism. With memoir of the author by Mrs. Humphry Ward and C.E. Montague. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1906. Level 10 Main Lib Classics RG275 ARN

Online access to Mrs Humphry Ward’s texts

Gateway to Ward's works online:

Related sites

Mary Ward Center in London:

"Mary Arnold Ward: A Bibliography of Criticism 1881-1990":

Ward family papers: 1871-1955 held by Archives at University College London: