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Cecil Woodham-Smith (Cecil Blanche Woodham-Smith) Biography

(1896–1977), (Cecil Blanche Woodham-Smith), April Sky, Just off Bond Street, Florence Nightingale, Eminent Victorians

nightingale irish

British historian and biographer, born in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, educated at St Hilda's College, Oxford; she subsequently worked as a secretary and advertising copywriter till her marriage in 1928. She began writing under the pseudonym ‘Janet Gordon’, producing a number of romantic novels which include April Sky (1938) and Just off Bond Street (1940). Florence Nightingale (1950), which displayed her capacity for diligent research and narrative fluency, was widely acclaimed; its balanced treatment of its subject restored Nightingale's reputation, which had suffered from Strachey's iconoclasm in Eminent Victorians (1918). The Reason Why (1953), a detailed analysis of the military and political contexts of the charge of the Light Brigade, was followed by The Great Hunger (1962), a study of the mid-nineteenth-century Irish potato famine; a descendant of Lord Edward FitzGerald, a leading figure in the Irish uprising of 1798, she had a keen sense of her own Irishness, from which the work drew a passionate conviction. She died before completing the proposed second volume of Queen Victoria: Her Life and Times (1972), for which she had access to the royal archives at Windsor.

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