Chronology of Emily Hale’s Life and Career

Emily Hale’s own account of her career, up to the mid-1930s:

I first began college dramatic work in 1916, when, at the age of twenty five, I went to Simmons College to assist the girls in the formation of a Dramatic Club. From then until 1921 I was in charge of the Club productions and the Senior Class Plays. In 1918, after the death of my father, Dr Lefavour asked me to take charge of a college dormitory and to act as assistant to the Director of Dormitories, in which capacity I served for three years.

In 1921, Pres. Lucia Briggs, who was beginning her term of office at Milwaukee-Downer College, asked me to go to Milwaukee with her to take charge of the Spoken English and dramatic work of the college. From 1921 to 1929 I remained at Milwaukee-Downer College, six of these years holding office as one of the heads of houses. In 1927 I was appointed an assistant professor and given a half years leave of absence.1

In 1929 I resigned and since then have been living in Boston, lecturing on the American and European theatre, and giving dramatic recitals and programs of American and foreign poetry.

I have done a great deal of acting with amateur organizations in Boston, Cambridge and Milwaukee.

My preparatory schools were Miss Ingalls [sc. Ingols] and the Berkeley Schools in Cambridge,2 Miss May’s School in Boston, and Miss Porter’s at Farmington. I did not go to College because at the time of entrance I was not considered strong enough. Special courses have been taken at the Leland Powers School of Dramatic Art3 [in 1920] and at the Cornish School of Drama in Seattle, Washington [in the summer of 1921].4 For seven years I studied singing with Boston teachers.

It has been my good fortune to travel often in Europe, having been five times to England where on my last visit I had the privilege of speaking before the Art Poetry Circle of the Lyceum Club,5 and the American Women’s Club in London. I have also visited Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Holland and Ireland, for periods of varying duration and for the last three summers have studied the theatre in Germany, France, England and Ireland.

My forebears are of New England stock on both sides of the family. My father, a Unitarian minister, was for many years a teacher at the Harvard Divinity School, and my earliest associations are largely with Cambridge. He held a pastorate for many years at Chestnut Hill. An uncle is Mr Philip Hale of the Boston Herald.

I am fond of young people, of teaching, and was keenly interested in all student activities while at Milwaukee-Downer College. The history of the theatre and the fascination of ‘make believe’ evidenced in college dramatics, are to me delightful, stimulating fields of and for exploration.6


1891 – Emily Hale is born on 27 Oct. 1891, first child of the Revd Edward Hale (1858–1918) and Emily Jose (Milliken) Hale (1868–1946), in East Orange, Essex County, New Jersey. A brother, William Peabody Hale, came into the world in 1895. ‘I have not told you how gentle Emily is with her brother, and how hard she tries to do what is right – she is a comfort to us all,’ wrote Edward Hale to his sister Edith; ‘and the little son is a comfort, too, already.’ Sadly, the ‘little son’ died just a week short of his second birthday, on 12 July 1897 (when Emily Hale was five). Soon after the death of the child, Emily’s mother suffered a serious nervous collapse: she was taken to McLean Hospital, Belmont, Massachusetts, and was to be looked after there for the rest of her life. Emily Hale attended the Berkeley Street School, along with Eliot’s cousin Eleanor Hinkley, whom she befriended, and then Miss May’s School in Boston. She graduated from Miss Porter’s School in Farmington, Connecticut. Miss Porter’s, a private girls’ school, was founded in 1843 by Sarah Porter, a progressive educationalist who saw to it that the curriculum included subjects including chemistry, physiology, botany, geology and astronomy, as well as more traditional subjects. Initially taken to be an élite finishing school, it progressed into a reputed college preparatory school. (Notable alumnae from later years included Barbara Hutton, Gloria Vanderbilt, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, and Lee Radziwill, younger sister of Jackie Kennedy.) Hale said she did not go on to college because ‘I was not considered strong enough.’ That ambiguous or equivocal phrase presumably means that her academic attainment and promise were believed to be too weak.

1905 – Hale possibly meets T. S. Eliot for the first time, through his cousins the Hinkleys – in Eliot’s letter of 18 August 1932, he notes that he has known her since 1905–6. Hale’s 1957 narrative gives the date of meeting as 1911–12 – ‘or a little earlier’ – at a time when Eliot was a Harvard graduate student. Frances Dickey, in ‘May the Record Speak’, ventures: ‘in Dante, [Eliot] describes the Vita Nuova as a perfectly realistic mixture of biography and allegory … Whether Eliot has shaped his memory to fit the Dantean pattern better, or actually began admiring Hale from afar as a teenager, his account of their relationship suggests a parallel in his mind between his own life and Dante’s as told in the Vita Nuova.’

1913 – 17 February: as part of a so-called ‘Stunt Show’ – a series of vignettes of passages from plays arranged and performed by a group of friends, Hale and Eliot play opposite one another in a sketch by Eleanor Hinkley based on Jane Austen’s Emma: ‘An Afternoon with Mr Woodhouse’. Eliot is the hypochondriac Mr Woodhouse to Hale’s odious, snobbish Mrs Elton. Also in 1913, Hale takes the female lead in the Cambridge Social Dramatic Club production of The Mollusc (staged in Brattle Hall): Eliot is present in the audience. In addition, Hale appears as Olivia in an all-female production of Twelfth Night (performed at Smith College, and again at Jordan Hall of the New England Conservatory). In November 1913, Eliot and Hale – in company with friends including Margaret Farrand – go to a performance by the Boston Opera of Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde.

1914 – Eliot departs for graduate study in Europe, having awkwardly declared to Hale that he is in love with her (years later, Eliot will confirm the date in a letter of 30 Nov. 1947: ‘my first declaration of love in Chestnut Hill in 1914’) – ‘he very much embarrassed me,’ Hale will remark, ‘by telling me he loved me deeply; no mention of marriage was made.’ At that time, in 1914, she is taken aback and does not reciprocate his sentiments, though they keep in touch through letters over the next few years. Her account reads: ‘Before leaving, to my great surprise, he told me how very much he cared for me; at the time I could return no such feeling. His subsequent life in Oxford and later citizenship in England are known by many and everyone who studies his work. At the close of the war he married an English girl [Vivien Haigh-Wood] whom he had met at Oxford. This marriage was a complete surprise to his family and friends and for me particularly, as he had corresponded quite regularly with me, sent flowers for special occasions, etc.; I meanwhile trying to decide whether I could learn to care for him had he returned to the “States”.’ Also in 1914, she acts with the Cambridge Amateurs in an English comedy, Mrs Bumpstead-Leigh, in Brookline and at Andover, Mass.: see ‘Table Gossip’, Boston Globe, 29 Nov. 1914, 54. Another notice ‘Amateurs Score Triumph’, Andover Townsman, 18 Dec. 1914, 5, observes of Hale’s acting that it is ‘of a fine order’. (On 21 Nov., Eliot commissions his Harvard friend Conrad Aiken to buy flowers to present to her after the première.)

1915 – Hale performs again with the Amateurs in the comedy Eliza Comes to Stay; opposite a contemporary named Osgood Perkins (1892–1937), who goes on to enjoy a Broadway and Hollywood career – and who, as Sara Fitzgerald has noted, becomes the father of the future Oscar-nominated actor Tony Perkins.

1916 – Hale stars as Roxane in a Boston Players production of Edmond Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac, directed by the professional stage and screen actor Edward Vroom (who takes the part of Cyrano), at the Copley Theatre, Boston; it was presented again at the enormous Jordan Hall, Boston, on 16 Nov. 1916. A contemporary review – ‘A blustering Cyrano’, Boston Globe, 3 Feb. 1916, 13 – remarks that the play is ‘a greater success’ than the production that Vroom mounted the previous week. ‘He was well supported throughout, especially by Miss Hale as Roxane.’

1916–21 – Hale teaches at Simmons College, Boston: she is officially an administrator – a ‘dorm matron’ – in the halls of residence; unofficially, coach for the Dramatic Club.7

1921–29 – Beginning in the autumn of 1921, Emily Hale works as an administrator and tutor of vocal expression at Milwaukee-Downer College, a pioneering women’s college in the Midwest. (Founded in 1895, the college is now merged with Lawrence University.) She ultimately attains the title of Assistant Professor of Vocal Expression.8 Phil Hanrahan notes, in ‘T. S. Eliot’s Secret Love’: ‘Hired to teach vocal expression at Milwaukee-Downer College, she also taught drama, directed plays, and presided over Johnston Hall, a beautiful red-brick dormitory built along Downer Avenue … Her approachability, her willingness to make friends with students was mentioned again and again during interviews (several former students felt quite close to Hale and kept in touch with her after she left Downer). Her élite background did not prevent Hale from establishing ties with “city students,” those Milwaukee natives who commuted to school each day via streetcar or foot and whose backgrounds often were less privileged than those of the dorm residents (and Hale’s) … Her life on campus was a full one. Hale helped organize talks given by a number of cultural celebrities in the 1920s: Edna St Vincent Millay in ’24, Helen Keller in ’25, the son of Leo Tolstoy in 1927. She was there on the night of March 22, 1924, when Robert Frost began a poetry reading by asking for help with his cuff links … When not busy teaching or directing, Hale invited students to her rooms for tea and talk and was fond of throwing parties for the Montebanks [sic] [drama club].’ Also in 1921, Hale takes the title role in a production of Miss Lulu Bett, the 1921 Pulitzer Prize-winning play by Zona Gale (adapted from Gale’s novel of 1920), with the Wisconsin Players. A reviewer in the Milwaukee Sentinel, 11 Nov. 1922, remarks: ‘Miss Emily Hale, with her dry wit and her downtrodden air which aroused sympathy and at the same time left an impression of deep and intense feeling, stood out decidedly in the feature role. Handling a difficult part with unusual tact, it was neither overdone nor treated in a casual manner.’ (Contrariwise, another critic, for the Milwaukee Journal, 12 Nov. 1922, writes with regret: ‘Miss Emily Hale, who played Miss Lulu, the kitchen drudge in her sister’s household, seemed to forget, at times, that she was the uneducated Lulu and gave her lines in a voice too cultured to belong to so drab a housekeeper.’)

1922 – (or perhaps 1923: the date is uncertain), Eliot and Hale meet once more, in Eccleston Square, London – whether by chance or prearrangement is not known (though it is not an obvious place to meet up with anyone after a few years apart).

Hale’s account:

We did not meet until the summer of 1922, when I was in London with my aunt and uncle. His marriage was already known to be a very unhappy affair which was affecting both his creative work and his health. Only his closest friends at this time knew fully of the miserable relationship between his wife and him. Knowing this, I was dismayed when he confessed, after seeing me again, that his affection for me was stronger than ever, though he had assumed years of separation from his home in America and old friends would have changed his attitude toward me. From this meeting in London until the early 30’s I was the confidante by letters of all which was pent up in this gifted, emotional, groping personality.9

In September 1923, Eliot sends her a copy of his little volume Ara Vos Prec (1919), inscribed with this passage from the Inferno: ‘Sieti raccomandato il mio Tesoro, / Nel quale io vivo ancora –’ (‘But let my Treasure, where I still live on, live in your memory –’). Those words are spoken to Dante by Brunetto Latini, author of Il Tesore (The Treasure), by way of a fervent behest. In Oct. 1926, Eliot takes out a subscription for her to the New Criterion, the cultural periodical of which he is editor.

1927 – In April, while on vacation in Florence, Hale writes to Eliot, but her letter has not survived. We know of its existence only because, in May 1927, Eliot went for a walk with his friend William Force Stead and mentioned having received it – the letter, he said, had brought back vivid memories: it made him feel things he had not felt for some time, though he did not specifically mention the name of Hale.10

1928 – Eliot sends Hale a signed copy of his Poems. In the summer – and again in the summer of 1929 – Hale ‘studies the theatre’ in England, France and Ireland.

1929 – Hale has a period of unidentified illness (as Eliot learns only in December 1930). Hale, who has been in London for the summer, returns home on 10 October. While in London, she has had printed this advertising flyer for her 1929–30 programme of lectures and presentations in and around Boston:

Lecture Subjects

A Survey of the Contemporary English and Irish Theatre.

The Parisian Stage.

A Course of Three Lectures:

(a) The Shaw Festival.

(b) The Morality Plays at Canterbury Cathedral.

(c) The Abbey Theatre, Dublin.

‘Educational Drama’ and its Problems.

Recital Subjects

Historic Figures in the Drama.

Readings from plays in which the characters represent well-known figures in history.

The Dramatic Verse of Robert Frost and other American Poets.

Stories and Poems with Musical Accompaniment:

——The Raven Edgar Allen Poe

——Robert of Sicily – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

——The Happy Prince Oscar Wilde

——The Selfish Giant Oscar Wilde

——and others.

A Programme of One-Act Plays and Character Poems.

On 8 and 15 Nov. 1929, Hale gives a talk at the Hotel Vendome, Commonwealth Avenue, Boston, on ‘The Popular Plays of the London Season’; on 15 Nov., a presentation on ‘Playhouses, Players and Audiences: An Analysis of French and English Characteristics from a Playgoer’s point of view’.

1930 – 8 January, Hale speaks (11 a.m.) to the Saturday Morning Club at the Hotel Vendome, on ‘Old and New Leaders in the Irish Theatre’. On 11 March, at the Hotel Commander, Cambridge, MA, she presents two morning lectures: ‘The Shaw Festival at Great Malvern, England’ (it was at Malvern in 1929 that she had seen the première of Bernard Shaw’s latest offering, The Apple Cart). On 18 March: ‘Fantasy and Reality in Modern Poetry’. ‘Miss Hale is well known to Cambridge audiences as she has often appeared in the Cambridge Social Dramatic Club, her last appearance being in “On Approval”, the February production of the Club.’ Her lecture engagements elsewhere include ‘A Play from Both Sides of the Footlights’, given at the Providence Plantations Club, Providence, Rhode Island; and ‘Talkies or the Spoken Drama’, at the Women’s City Club, Detroit. (Arrangements for Hale’s lectures are made through The Players, 120 Boylston St, Boston.) Other talks she gives during this year are ‘The Popular Plays of the London Stage’, ‘Playhouses, Players and Audiences of France and England’, ‘The Theater Abroad’, ‘Modern British Verse’ and ‘The German Theater of Today’ (with accounts of Bayreuth, Munich and Oberammergau – where she has presumably seen one of the 1930 performances of the Passion Play). The ‘patronesses’ of Hale’s lectures include several of her friends and relations, among them Mrs Philip Hale, Mrs Holmes Hinkley, Miss Penelope B. Noyes and Miss Mary Lee Ware. (Mary Lee Ware was the well-off daughter of a distinguished Boston physician, Charles Eliot Ware (1814–87) and his wife Elizabeth Cabot Lee, with a townhouse property in Boston as well as an upstate farm: in the early 1930s Hale is housed with Ware in Boston, when she is not staying with her aunt and uncle-in-law.) An unidentified newspaper cutting (in the archive of Smith College) almost certainly reflects her way of presenting her thoughts: ‘There is more gaiety and brilliance in the nightly English audience than in the French, although in both theatres the occasion is made more of than in the American theater. The French are more critical as theater-goers – and as intellectually analytical of a play as they are of a novel, a work of art. This is due in large measure to the type of play today on the French stage, which compels a different reaction than the less extreme English stage.’ (So too, the Boston Evening Transcript, 14 Nov. 1930, in its report of Hale’s ‘Modern British Verse’: ‘T. S. Eliot, F. S. Flint, the Sitwells, Wilfred Gibson and the late Gerard Hopkins are among the new school.’) In late September 1930, when she is in England, arrangements are made for Emily Hale to visit and dine with Eliot and his wife Vivien at home: the sustained correspondence between Eliot and Hale begins immediately after this occasion.

Eliot confesses to Hale, on 3 October 1930:

I felt it would not be fair to you to cultivate your acquaintance & friendship under false pretences. It only depends on whether you believe you can trust me. And if you know what pages and pages of tenderness I am not writing now, I think you would trust me …

Well, if this is a love letter, it is the last I shall ever write in my life: & I will sign it, for the first and last time, praying that I have given no offence, for I see nothing in this confession to be ashamed of – my love is as pure and unseeking as any love can be.

1931 – Hale takes private lessons in phonetics from a Leland Powers instructor. Also in 1931–2, she takes lessons in dramatic interpretation and the reading of poetry with Mrs Margaret McLean and Mrs Ellen Van Volkenburg Browne.

1932 – Hale is appointed to a teaching post in speech and drama at Scripps College, Claremont, California. (A new college, situated in the hills a few miles inland from Los Angeles, Scripps was founded only in 1927.) Her employment commences on 1 September. Laurabel Neville Hume (a student) was to recall for Kay Koeninger (12 Nov. 1981), of Hale at Scripps: ‘About Miss Hale – she was a vivid, interesting person who attracted a large following of stage-struck girls; I was one of them. Part of her charm was her dignity and gaiety, and her Bostonian accent … [S]he lived on campus, and her living-room was a mass of color. She wore a black silk dressing gown (you can see that we visited her informally, and often), covered with gold brocaded Chinese dragons.’

1932 – At Scripps on 18 November, Hale directs a production of La Locandiera (The Mistress of the Inn), by Carlo Goldoni, for the Siddons Club. In addition, on 9 December she directs members of the Freshman class in Dust of the Road, by Kenneth Goodman. In mid-December, she assists Emile Cailliet (Professor of French Literature and Civilisation at Scripps) in staging a production of a Medieval Entertainment comprising three farces – performed by members of the Franco-German Club. The last task of her first term at Scripps is the Christmas pageant put on in Toll Hall: she chooses to stage an old English nativity play. On 27 December – in the Christmas break from his exacting lecturing stint as Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard University, where he is spending the academic year (the revised lectures will be put into print as The Use of Poetry and the Use of Criticism, 1933), Eliot travels west by rail to visit Hale at Scripps, and he is provided with a lodging near the college at the home of a Scripps faculty member named Mary B. Eyre.

1933 – 5 January: Eliot lectures in Balch Hall auditorium at Scripps College on ‘Edward Lear and Modern Poetry’. He participates too in other teaching activities and faculty gatherings. Laurabel Hume will remember Eliot as ‘that very charming, shy man’. 10 January: Marie McSpadden, a Scripps student majoring in drama, drives Eliot and Hale out to spend the day à deux on Balboa Island. (As a mark of his gratitude to McSpadden, Eliot subsequently sends her a copy of his poem ‘Marina’.) Frances Dickey, ‘May the Record Speak’: ‘During his academic year as Norton Professor at Harvard University, 1932–33, Eliot sees Hale for only ten days [at Scripps], but in Cambridge [Massachusetts] … he writes and talks with her on the telephone frequently.’ A few weeks later, Hale culminates her first full academic year at Scripps with a production of The Dragon, by Lady Gregory: it is deemed to be ‘superlative’. Eliot separates from his wife on returning to England in mid-1933, and passes several weeks lodging with the family of his colleague Frank Morley on their small country estate at Lingfield in Surrey.

1934 – 26–27 January: Hale appears as Judith Bliss in the Claremont Community Players production of Hay Fever, staged at Holmes Hall, Pomona College, Claremont, California. For unknown reasons which are not yet fully established, she submits a letter of resignation from Scripps College on 19 February 1934, serving her term of notice until early June 1934. It seems most likely that – in the knowledge that the Revd and Mrs John Carroll Perkins (her closest surviving relatives: Edith Perkins was her father’s sister) are planning to spend a year in Europe – she has asked for leave of absence for a full academic year in order to accompany and take care of them, but the request is turned down (since she has worked at Scripps only for two academic sessions). On 12 and 13 June, as part of the Scripps College Commencement festivities, she directs a tercentenary production of John Milton’s Comus: A Masque, put on in the courtyard of Grace Scripps Hall: the production is designed to mark the 300th anniversary of the presentation of Milton’s masque at Ludlow Castle. For the summer, Hale comes again to England, arriving on 23 July, to keep company with the Perkinses, at Stamford House, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. This is a pleasant stone townhouse fronting the high street, and with a lovely mature garden to the rear in which Mrs Perkins, a passionate, knowledgeable gardener and amateur photographer of gardens, takes huge delight. Eliot does not much like Mrs Perkins, but he feels he has to palliate and flatter her for Emily’s sake. Eliot characterises the Revd John Carroll Perkins as ‘that loveable schoolboy’ – a man of ‘rather woolly counsels’. Graham Pearson: ‘Eliot visited Campden twice in 1934, four times in 1935, not in 1936 when Eliot visited America, twice in 1937, three times in 1938 and twice, or possibly three times, in 1939. He therefore visited Campden at least thirteen times when the Perkins stayed at Stamford House in the five years between 1934 and 1939, with the exception of 1936.’ 29 November 1934: Emily Hale and her aunt Edith Perkins mingle in the crowds outside Westminster Abbey to witness the procession for the wedding of Prince George, Duke of Kent, and Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. Days later, Hale leaves England so as to pass the winter in Italy with the Perkinses and her close friend Jeannette McPherrin.

1935 – 3 May: while staying again at Chipping Campden, Hale travels to London to witness the celebrations for the Silver Jubilee of George V and Queen Mary. She again stays with the Perkinses at Stamford House, where Eliot visits them in May. End of July: Eliot spends a week at Stamford House; then, or more probably in early September 1935, he and Hale go for a long country walk beyond Chipping Campden and come across the abandoned house called ‘Burnt Norton’, and they explore the grounds with their empty ponds which possess his imagination. Hale notes: ‘“Burnt Norton”, as Tom always said, was his “love poem” for me.’ 26 September: Eliot again visits Chipping Campden for his birthday. He writes to Jeannette McPherrin on 3 October: ‘I had, of course, a perfectly delightful birthday party. Mrs P[erkins] is (almost too consciously, malice would say) the perfect hostess – on Friday the Yeomen of the Guard at the Stratford Theatre; on Saturday evening a dinner arranged by Emily with great care in her honour – healths and tasteful speeches from and to the servants, and an Occasional Poem by myself which seemed to go down well.’ Back in London in late November, Eliot takes Hale to tea with Virginia Woolf, who meanly characterises Hale (in a letter of 26 November 1935) as ‘[Eliot’s] dull impeccable Boston lady’. In the early autumn of 1935, Hale finally finds it in herself to reciprocate Eliot’s feelings: she tells him candidly that she is in love with him. They own their happiness and start to imagine a shared future: he says he wants to marry her, except for the impediment of his prior marriage to Vivien.

1936 – August–September: Eliot visits the USA, spending part of the time with Hale at Woods Hole, Massachusetts – the seaside home of her dear friend Dorothy Elsmith. Eliot writes to McPherrin, 20 August: ‘I have been rather alarmed about [Emily], though less so now; and I shall see her in ten days. The winter with the Perkins’s, and trying for one job after another, must have been very trying for her, and she has had a sort of breakdown.’ Eliot to McPherrin, 26 October: ‘When I first saw Emily I thought her very much changed, chiefly in the lack of any animation, in a kind of numbness to the external world, a narrowing of her field of awareness, and a tendency (though one has noticed this before) to think about her own shortcomings all the time … While we were visiting her friends at Woods Hole, I thought she picked up a bit; and when I went down to Northampton to see her I thought she was a good deal better.’ In May 1936, Emily has secured a post as Assistant Professor of Spoken English (Department of Speech), at the prestigious Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, with a salary of $2,000 a year. She starts work at Smith in September and lives, at least initially, at 240 Crescent Street, Northampton.

1937 – 19 February: Hale’s appointment at Smith College is renewed for a further year, with her salary raised to $2,100. August–September: Eliot visits Chipping Campden. Hale accompanies Eliot to Edinburgh on the occasion of his honorary degree ceremony there.

1938 – 18 February: Hale’s job is renewed again, this time for a term of two years, at a salary of $2,200 rising to $2,300. Eliot visits Hale at Chipping Campden. He gives her a typescript of ‘Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats / with pixtures supplied by / The Man in White Spats’ – inscribed ‘For Miss Emily Hale. / this not quite final text. / from Old Possum / 18.vii.38.’

1939 – Eliot visits Hale once again at Chipping Campden.

1940 – 16 February: Hale’s appointment is renewed for a further year, with a salary of $2,600. In May, she gives a talk entitled ‘The Personal Equation in Spoken English’, at the Smith College Alumnae Council; it is printed in The Smith Alumnae Quarterly (see Appendix). At the same conference, on 20 February, she leads a seminar on the topic of ‘Voice and Speech for Home Defense’. Eliot writes to a mutual friend, Meg Nason, on 9 October 1940: ‘Emily says she has returned to College in the best of health: but her dog Boerre was so pleased to see her that he made a dash & broke one of her front teeth!’ (The large Norwegian Elkhound had been a gift from Eliot, who had purchased it in England: she had shipped it back with her to New England.)

1941 – Summer: Hale attends the University of Wisconsin for some course work, and composes a graduate essay on ‘Criticism and its Function for the Teacher of Interpretation’ (see Appendix).

1941–42 – Hale serves as President of the local (Northampton) branch of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). In time, she will also serve as co-chairman of the Speakers’ Bureau at Smith, an organization of faculty members who are donating their services to the war effort.

1942 – Hale’s post at Smith College is terminated – ‘so lamentably’, as Eliot will later remark to her. According to her faculty file at Smith, she is granted a year’s sabbatical 1942–3 on full salary. The file notes tersely: ‘No reappointment.’ She departs from 22 Paradise Rd on 8 Sept. 1942. After leaving Smith, she teaches at girls’ secondary schools in New York State, Maine and Massachusetts. Lyndall Gordon: ‘For a short while, in 1943, she taught at Bennett Junior College in Millbrook, New York, then moved on to teach in high schools. She never held an academic post again. Later in 1943 she had a temporary position at Concord Academy in Concord, Massachusetts, and managed to stay on. At the beginning of the new school year in 1944, the headmistress, Miss Josephine Tucker, announced that Miss Hale had “returned to spend the entire year on dramatics and speech training”.’11

1944 – September: Hale moves to 54 Main Street, Concord. November. At Concord Academy, she directs J. M. Barrie’s Quality Street, with Fanny Tomaino in the lead. Tomaino will inform Lyndall Gordon, on 13 November 1988: ‘Miss Hale’s presence during that short time in my life has always remained with me – every detail – how she costumed me in her own Empire-cut, satin peignoir. How, after the performance, when the material was hopelessly stained with perspiration, she said “of course it can never be worn again.” Then seeing the anxiety on my face either said something or smiled in a way that said “Never mind, it is worth it to both of us.” Because her teacher seemed old to the teenage girl, she called her “Mrs Hale” until she was taken aside and told: “Miss Hale, if you please, Fanny. As yet I have not accepted the hand of any man in matrimony”’ (Imperfect Life, 400–1).

1945 – Hale takes up residence in an apartment comprising three ‘pleasant’ rooms at 53 Lexington Road, Concord, where from 6 February she is registered to vote in Concord. On 3 March, she directs (for the Upper School at Concord Academy) a production of Dear Brutus, by J. M. Barrie, with proceeds going to the American Red Cross. ‘Miss Emily Hale coached and coaxed our play into being,’ reported the student magazine The Chameleon (Mar. 1945). One review, by ‘M.C.H.’ praises ‘an entirely creditable performance’: ‘The group of girls who worked on this play and their coach, Miss Emily Hale, should feel amply gratified at the real success they attained.’ 26 April: Hale poses to Eliot a courageously self-respecting question, with great sensitivity:

After my illness, I wanted most strongly to feel that I could marry you and so wrote you. As your answer told me again, that was impossible under existing conditions. I wondered whether I might not be happy with someone else instead, and whether our love for each other would remain always a rare thing to hold close, but of a nature to be unfulfilled; and whether it would be wronging that relation to live beyond and above it, or through it, perhaps to something less unusual, but more normal. (There was no one actually asking me). Unconsciously, this had been in my mind and heart for these two years past – and I felt it only honest to give you suggestions of my bewilderment. Since you may have sensed this, but have never referred to any possible change in me or you, and since your letters are usually so very undemonstrative and impersonal, it is hard for me to tell from them just what you consider yourself to me, or myself to you. As the possibility of a cessation of war in Europe draws closer – not a return to normal, – such cessation would bring changes of all sorts into the open, so to speak. Do you still feel that if you were free, you wish to marry me? That you would love me as you have these many years, I do not doubt, but that love is so far apart from other great facts and truths of life, that in these five to six years, I have no way of knowing whether you are as you were or not. I now wish to say that if you do wish to marry me ever, I shall keep myself always waiting and ready for you. But I would rather the truth from you, in case you feel differently, and I should understand, and still want to try to be what I could, to you – to try to carry the unusual, very complimentary, rather grave responsibility you have placed upon me – and which, I have always consented to accept since 1934 – when we came together in those thrilling London days.

1 October: Hale writes to President Frederick Hard at Scripps College, of ‘my wretched way of living in the last three years – in one furnished or unfurnished room after another – I have but a few of my possessions with me and none of my books.’

1946 – Hale resides at 1 Court Lane, Concord. 1–2 March: she directs a production of Hay Fever, by Noël Coward, in aid of American Friends for European Relief, at Concord. At Eastertime 1946, Hale takes a brief vacation in Farmington, Vermont. Summer of 1946: she takes the central role as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, with the Dorset Players (directed by Paul Stephenson) in Vermont. Eliot to Willard Thorp, 5 August 1946: ‘I had four very happy days in Emily’s company in Dorset, Vermont, where she was taking the leading role in Blithe Spirit.’ Soon thereafter, Hale relishes her summer vacation on the island of Grand Manan, New Brunswick, Canada. In the autumn of 1946, she taches for a short while at Gibbs School, Arlington, Massachusetts.

1947 – Hale lodges at 6 Hubbard Street, Concord. 23 January: Vivien Eliot dies in a psychiatric unit in London. Discombobulated by the shocking, wholly unexpected news, Eliot endures a moral crisis, and he presently determines that he no longer wishes to marry Hale; among the factors influencing his state of mind, he finds that he no longer feels sexual desire, and he believes he could not bear to live his life with anyone else. (By this time, he is sharing a large third-floor flat with his friend John Hayward at 19 Carlyle Mansions, Chelsea, London.) Bachelorhood, he resolves, has come to suit him.

Hale’s reckoning:

marriage – if and when his wife died – could not help but become a desired, right fulfillment. To the general public, and our friends in England and America, I was only ‘his very good friend’. 

Vivian [sic] Eliot died in the mid 40’s, at the close of the war, but instead of the anticipated life together which could now be rightfully ours, something too personal, too obscurely emotional for me to understand, decided T.S.E. against his marrying again. This was both a shock and a sorrow, though, looking back on the story, perhaps I could not have been the companion in marriage I hoped to be, perhaps the decision saved us both from great unhappiness I cannot ever know.

6–7 March: Hale directs a long-planned production of Richard II. Gertrude Rideout, in the Concord Journal, reports: ‘It was a bold choice of Miss Hale’s but one wholly justified by the success of the experiment. Her especial triumph other than the creation of the play’s exterior beauty was the defining for herself and her players of the deep and essential spirit of the piece … The reading of Shakespeare is not often accompanied so successfully, even by professionals, unless those professionals have originated in England … To Miss Hale Concord is indebted for a unique experience in the theater; to Miss Hale the Academy and the girls who took part in the play are indebted far more deeply than they now realize, for it was her courage, her vision, and her skill which initiated the project and which brought it to successful completion.’ From 22 April: Eliot visits the USA. 5 May: Eliot’s elder brother Henry Ware Eliot Jr dies of leukaemia. Late May: Eliot has a conference with Hale at Woods Hole. He declares to Hale in person, following his earlier letters on the subject, that he no longer feels able to marry her, as he had long believed he would if his wife were to die (though under no other possible circumstances: High Anglican doctrine forbids him to seek a divorce, he consistently maintains). E. W. F. Tomlin, T. S. Eliot: A Friendship (1988), 219: ‘Not long after [Henry Eliot’s death], Eliot preparing to go out [from the home of his sister-in-law Theresa Eliot, with whom he is staying in Cambridge, Massachusetts], announced: “I’ve got to get something over with.” He then departed with no further explanation. When he returned late in the day, he told her of his mission. He had nerved himself to tell Emily that all thought of marriage between them must be forgotten. Theresa enquired how she had reacted, and he answered that on the whole she had taken it very well … Eliot avowed to Theresa that he would be prepared to “kill himself” (those were his words) if Emily insisted on marriage … One day he had said to [Theresa], as if out of the blue: “I want someone to love me for myself, not because I am T. S. Eliot”.’ Helen Gardner was to confide in Eliot’s erstwhile colleague Frank Morley, on 29 June 1978: ‘Just as I think [Emily] is behind Agatha in The Family Reunion, I am sure that the painful scene in The Cocktail Party when Edward discovers that he doesn’t want to marry Celia now he is free to do so after Lavinia’s leaving him, is part of the story.’ (Emily Hale discerned for herself the personal details that she believed were expressed in The Cocktail Party; she was to feel convinced, in a letter addressed to her friend Margaret Thorp on 5 January 1964: ‘Having re-read “The Cocktail Party” lately I find many a passage which could have hidden meaning for me and for him.’) Eliot gives Hale a copy of Prufrock (1st edn, Egoist Press, 1917): ‘Inscribed to Miss Emily Hale by T. S. Eliot / New Haven / 26. V. 47’. 3 June: Eliot delivers the Commencement address on the twenty-fifth anniversary of Concord Academy: the talk is printed as ‘On Poetry’, Concord Academy, Winter 1997. Eliot receives a doctorate from Harvard, and departs from the USA in mid-June. July: Hale stars in Kind Lady, by Edward Chodorov. In a letter to Hale, 25 June, Eliot refers to it as ‘that terrible play’; on 14 July, ‘that frightful though fascinating rôle’. From the autumn of 1947 Hale occupies three ‘pleasant’ rooms at 9 Lexington Road, Concord. 4 October: Eliot advises Meg Nason: ‘Since my return, the news of Mrs. Carroll Perkins’s eyesight has been bad: apparently it is to be expected that she will become nearly blind. Dr. Perkins I thought pretty frail; he can walk only very little. They were very pathetic. Emily will be at hand; she writes that she has just found some nice rooms in Concord Mass. which seem to be as near as possible what she has been looking for, and she is to continue to give her class in speech training in Boston, though she has ceased her connexion with the school in Concord.’ Hale formally resigns from Concord Academy in the autumn of 1947.

1948 – 16 January: Hale writes to Frederick Hard: ‘I am now in these rooms of my own with my own furnishings about me, including, at last, my books.’ (She asks Hard too whether she might ‘give a reading of some of Mr Eliot’s poetry for a college or public audience? I do this sort of thing professionally.’) Hale to Eliot, 4 February: ‘I have as much to do in a simple way as I can take care of – certain church activities of very diverse character, some town affairs, modest enough, like participation in the League of Women Voters, and in the dramatic group, The Players, of which I am now a director, and, I may add, a consultant.’ February: Hale starts teaching at Abbot Academy, Concord, Massachusetts. (In the event, she is to work at Abbot from February 1948 until June 1957.) ‘A Greeting from Margaret Hearsey’, Abbot Academy Bulletin 16: 1 (Oct. 1948), 3: ‘There have been very few changes in the faculty for this year. We are all very happy that Miss Emily Hale, who came last February to finish out the year after Mrs Gray’s death, has consented to accept a regular appointment to the staff. Miss Hale studied at the Leland Powers School, the Cornish School in Seattle, the Speech Institute in London. She has taught at Milwaukee-Downer, Scripps College, and Smith College.’ Alan Blackmer, a colleague at Abbot, was to recall: ‘[F]ellow Abbot teachers found in her a wonderfully stimulating colleague. “A good person was Emily Hale, intelligent, sensitive, a really fine teacher”.’ To her Abbot students she was much more than a stage presence. Says one, “She found and woke in me an imagination that no one else at Abbot had touched upon”’ (Lloyd, A Singular School, 303). ‘“She was very old-school,” laughs Sandra Castle Hull ’58, who acted in one of the plays Hale directed, She Stoops to Conquer. “If she said for you to have the lines learned by Wednesday, you learned your lines by Wednesday!”’ (Katie Fiermonti, ‘A secret life in letters: The mystery surrounding the ambiguous relationship between T. S. Eliot and an Abbot teacher’). Hale performs too in Dangerous Corner, by J. B. Priestley. Hale to Eliot, 25 May 1948: ‘I am going to live in Andover next year, to become a permanent member of the Abbot Academy faculty. Miss Hearsey made me the offer soon after Easter vacation … The salary – even as a so-called part time teacher – is larger than I have ever received – the school is making over a house it owns into two apartments, one of which is to be mine.’ She moves into her fresh rooms in mid-Sept. 1948. Eliot to Hale, 3 June: ‘I am glad to think that your last post … should be a congenial and appreciative one: for Smith ended so lamentably, and Concord I know, and Miss Tucker, never made a happy environment for you.’ By spring 1948, Hale is a director of the dramatic group, The Players. 29 May: she stages The Swan, by the Hungarian playwright Ferenc Molnár. Other productions over the coming months include J. M. Barrie’s Dear Brutus (for a third time); The Admirable Crichton, by J. M. Barrie (in Davis Hall, 4 June 1955); and Shaw’s Candida. Ann Kennedy Irish: ‘Eliot’s loss was Abbot’s gain. Miss Hale nurtured and expanded our love for and understanding of the theatre.’ (quoted in Abbot Academy Bulletin, Oct. 1957). ‘Abbot Dramatic Society’, Circle (Abbot Academy Yearbook), 1949: ‘This year, the performing fleas got off to a wonderful start with five new members. Despite our lost lines, lost cues, and late appearances, A.D.S, under the direction of Miss Hale, produced Letters to Lucerne.

Dulcy, the Senior play [a satirical comedy directed by Hale at Christmas 1948], was great fun to give. Rehearsals were a constant repetition of Is-A-Bell’s “Louder” (until she broke) and our director’s agile leaps from the floor to the stage.

‘We all want to thank Miss Hale for the understanding help she has given us in dramatics and for the real part she has taken in our Senior year.’

Eliot visits Hale at Concord in 1948, and writes to her on 24 October: ‘I was happy with you on Tuesday: that is, a kind of happiness such as is compatible with being very unhappy too – I felt it had been worth while and a good thing, and I don’t know whether you were glad or sorry to have seen me and given me that day – but I feel I must get to know you, in a way, anew – you were very fine, but I am diffident now about forcing my company upon you if and when you don’t want me, so I can only hope you will be frank about this’ – ‘I was also at moments happy being with you’ (5 December 1948). Writing to Hale on 27 February 1949, Eliot quotes back to her, from a letter written by Hale, this gnomic but tellingly pertinent phrase: ‘beyond this answer, I cannot see how I can relate myself to you at all.’ Hale takes her summer vacation in 1948 at The Anchorage, Grand Manan, New Brunswick.

1949 – June: Hale directs Sheridan’s The School for Scandal at Abbot Academy.

1950Abbot Bulletin (1950) publishes photos of production of Hay Fever. April: Hale directs another school production of Dear Brutus. Summer: Hale visits London for a while, and Eliot insists on paying for her to stay for a few days from 12 July at the Basil Street Hotel; she goes once again to Chipping Campden for a brief visit; then she moves on to Aberdeen and Bath. 4 September: Hale flies back home to the USA. 23 December: the Revd John Carroll Perkins dies.

1951 – Autumn: Hale directs a production of Twelfth Night. She spends the summer vacation in New Bedford; so too the Christmas vacation.

1952 – Hale travels out to California for the summer: her ports of call include Milwaukee, Minneapolis, California (Claremont and Berkeley), and Seattle; and she flies back east. 13 June: Eliot writes to Hale, after meeting up with her, by arrangement, over the summer: ‘I am … rather shocked that you should think I was wholly unaware of the strain of the situation for you, or that (although emotions are incommensurable) that it was even more difficult for you than for me. I simply thought (wrongly it seems) that it was more delicate not to refer to it, but merely to express the brighter side, if I could, of my own very mixed and unhappy feelings – which are always present with me in my daily life. I do not know whether it is more painful meeting or not meeting – that must be as you find it for yourself. It is all such a vulture on the liver that I cannot think of it for long at a time, though it is always present.’ Autumn: Hale directs a production of Prunella: or, Love in a Dutch Garden, by Laurence Housman and Harley Granville-Barker.

1953 – February: Hale undertakes a co-production of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, by Abbot Academy and the Brooks School, North Andover: she co-directs the play with George Chychele Waterston (whose son, the future Broadway and Hollywood star Sam Waterston, takes part in the production). George Waterston greatly enjoys the collaboration, writing to Hale on 3 March: ‘Your own helpful hints to the boys were accepted and acted upon much more immediately than mine. They accepted your advice unhesitatingly – quite rightly.’ March: Hale visits the town of Washington, Connecticut, presumably for a rest; she is suffering from some sort of muscle trouble, possibly sciatica. July: Hale takes a vacation at Squam Lake, New Hampshire, to the south of the White Mountains. 21–28 August: Hale attends the Summer School run by the Training Department of the British Drama League at Alnwick Castle in Northumberland; her certificate of attendance is signed by the Principal, J. Francis Mackenzie. 16–21 August: in anticipation of her arrival, Eliot again reserves (and pays for) a room for her at the Basil Street Hotel, London. 24 August: Hale attends the dress rehearsal of The Confidential Clerk, at the Edinburgh Festival; and the première (with a seat in the Grand Circle secured for her by Eliot’s secretary Valerie Fletcher), on 25 August. Eliot’s good friend Mary Trevelyan – whom Eliot in 1949 (in a letter to Hale) had characterised as a ‘kindly thorn’ in his flesh – is also in attendance.

1954 – Hale directs a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor. 10 April: Eliot tells Hale: ‘I was sorry for you having to do the Merry Wives. Shakespeare’s worst play …’ ‘Shakespeare’s feeblest play’ (21 Mar.). ‘Abbot Dramatic Society’, Circle (Abbot Academy yearbook), 1954: ‘The Abbot Dramatic Society is one of the best extra-curricular groups in our life. It consists of girls in the upper two classes, who do not necessarily have outstanding acting ability, but who show an interest in dramatics and have potentialities. Membership is limited to fifteen, but a balance between the two classes and the merits of a small group are factors. Without a discourse on the value of a dramatic society, let it suffice to say that this has been a most successful year under the patient, professional guidance of Miss Hale.’ Hale puts on a production of Pygmalion, to end the school year.

1955 – Easter: Hale directs a school production of As You Like It. 4 June: directs the Senior Middle Drama Class of Abbot Academy in The Admirable Crichton. She passes the summer vacation at The Anchorage, Grand Manan, New Brunswick.

1956 – 2 June: Hale directs Senior Middle Drama Class (Abbot Academy) production of The Swan, by Molnar. July: Hale spends a week at the seaside town of Mount Desert, Maine. August–September: ‘Miss Hale travelled by train through the Canadian Rockies, then down the coast to Berkeley, returning home with a glimpse of the American Rockies near Estes Park’ (Abbot Academy Bulletin, Oct. 1956). November: Hale deposits the bulk of her letters from Eliot with Princeton University Library. ‘The gift was formally accessioned on 12 December 1956’ (Don Skemer, ‘Sealed Treasure: T. S. Eliot Letters to Emily Hale’). During Advent, Hale stages a production with the Senior Drama Class of Holy Night: A Christmas Miracle Story in Three Scenes, by Gregorio Martinez Sierra.

1957 – Hale lives at 35 School Street, Andover, Mass. (a handsome gabled property owned by Abbot Academy and used to house school faculty). 10 February: Eliot gets married to his secretary, Valerie Fletcher (he is 68, his new wife 30): the unanticipated news distresses Hale. March: Hale directs The Tempest at school: ‘my last obligation before vacation begins’. Lyndall Gordon: ‘She retired from Abbot Academy, and then collapsed. She went into the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston complaining of dizziness, and was investigated for a brain tumour, but the doctors found nothing. It was an emotional breakdown. Barbara Burwell remembered her coming to recuperate at Woods Hole, unsteady, leaning on a cane, and looking as if she had aged ten years. She never fully recovered, never got back her vivacity.’ Caroline Willington (who had been a student at Scripps, named Caroline Wardner Harrison): ‘When Tom married a second time, Emily really went into seclusion. We lost track of her for many years.’ All the same, Hale herself declares to William S. Dix at Princeton University Library, 15 July: ‘My term of service at Abbot is over because of retirement age.’ And Sara Fitzgerald notes: ‘My research found that after the initial shock of Eliot’s remarriage, Hale still managed to enjoy a full and productive life for her remaining 12 years.’ From October 1957 to March 1958, Hale lodges at Garth Cottage in Chipping Campden.

1958 – February: Hale gives her residential address as ‘The Pioneer – Y.W.C.A.’, 410 Stuart Street, Boston, Mass. In February, however, she is resident for a time c/o Williams (otherwise unidentified), at 294 Washington Street, Boston, Mass. From March, she teaches one semester – ‘Speech and Dramatics’ – at Oak Grove School, in Vassalboro, Maine; and then she retires from teaching for good. Between September 1958 and 1963, she lives at 83 Crescent Street, Northampton, Mass.

1959 – 8–10 March: Hale performs in The Solid Gold Cadillac, with the Circle Players (Northampton), staged at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Hall in Florence, Northampton. Hale takes the major role of Laura Partridge, a small stockholder (with just ten shares) who causes consternation at meetings of the stockholders and an eventual bouleversement with her insistent questioning of the company’s affairs. She also plays a primary part in a comedy called The Curious Savage, by John Patrick. In the autumn, Hale attends, as a representative for the Circle Players, a Little Theatre Conference held at the University of Massachusetts.

1960 – August: Hale visits California to attend the wedding of the daughter of Caroline Willington (it has turned out that Hale is related to Willington on her mother’s side).

1961 – 20 April: Hale is elected President of the Northampton Woman’s Club at the annual meeting. She continues as a director of the local branch of the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA). An active member of the Unitarian Church, she is in addition a member of the Monday Afternoon Club, League of Women Voters, a volunteer for the work of the Sophia Smith collection of the Library of Smith College, and a member of both the Northampton Historical Society and the Northampton Area Council of Churches. (See Daily Hampshire Gazette, 20 Apr. 1961.) Lyndall Gordon, Imperfect Life: ‘Her aunt left her some money, and she used it to travel to Grand Manan Island in the Bay of Fundy, to Scandinavia, and South America. She endowed a building in a college for Blacks in North Carolina. One year before her death, in 1968 when she was seventy-seven, she played Mrs Higgins in a Concord production of My Fair Lady. “I did have a very happy, rather remarkable ‘come-back’ in this last role,” she told Margaret Thorp, ‘“and it gave me a warmth of friendliness each night from all the scene-stage hands and actors!”’ A eulogy, printed soon after Hale’s death in 1969, notes too: ‘Her personal interest in a negro school in the south was recalled. Her gifts over a number of years to the [Laurinburg] Normal and Industrial Institute in North Carolina, led to the naming of Hale House. Emily went down for the dedication and for the presentation of a portrait that had been requested, an occasion that meant a great deal to her.’

1963 – In May, Hale moves back to Concord – living at 9 Church Green, Concord, Mass. 01742 – ‘a little house rented, not bought!’ (Before leaving Northampton, she is fêted by the Circle Players at their annual banquet.) Summer: Hale makes a recording of Eliot’s letters to herself, and gives it to Princeton University Library: but the recording has not survived. In addition, she makes a recording of a brief memoir, which is then typed out and partly revised by her. 18 August: Hale declares to Willard Thorp, ‘I had suddenly felt almost a revulsion against the whole story – so personal – so painful in so many ways – of T.S.E. and E.H. – becoming public property in years long after we both are gone.’ Hale opines to Willard Thorp, 24 August: ‘there is mighty little of me in any poetry!’ – by which she means, she does not discern much evidence of her presence or influence in Eliot’s poetry. She tells Eliot himself, on 12 September: ‘I think you will be aware that for me to consider my life as important because of its relationship to you – a noted world figure – is very difficult.’ Eliot’s publishing colleague Peter du Sautoy dutifully burns Hale’s letters to Eliot during September – at Eliot’s express direction.

1967 – Hale goes on a South American cruise.

1968 – Sara Fitzgerald notes: ‘By spring 1968, three years after Eliot died, Hale capped off her acting career by playing the role of Henry Higgins’s mother in seven performances of My Fair Lady [by Allan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe] with the Concord Players in Massachusetts.’ Directed by Donald Harper and produced by Curtis Billings, the musical was performed on 17–19 and 22–25 May. One reviewer comments: ‘Aspiring actresses would do well to study the performance of Miss Emily Hale. As Higgins’s mother, she dominated every scene that she was in.’ And a memorial notice: ‘Who will forget her performance only last year in “My Fair Lady” of the Concord Players? When Mrs Higgins, in her picture hat, long flounced gown and parasol, made her entrance, with ease and style and aplomb, to the manner born, she took over the stage and received an ovation.’

1969 – January: Hale is resident for a while at 20 Chapel, Longwood Towers, Brookline, Mass. 12 October: Hale dies in Concord, Mass., in her 78th year. It seems that she had suffered for several months from a painful problem with her vertebrae, but that specific complaint was not the immediate cause of death. The Death Certificate (issued at Middlesex, Concord, MA, and signed by Leroy R. Houck on the day of death) records that she died while in residence at the Colonial Inn, of ‘natural causes presumably coronary sclerosis (found dead in bed).’ See too ‘A Conversation with Sally Foss about Emily Hale, By Susan Stewart and Joshua Kotin’, Time Present: The Newsletter of the International T. S. Eliot Society, no. 100 (Spring 2020): ‘Eventually, she came to stay at the Concord Colonial Inn, where she died, and I went to see her often, because it was right in the middle of town. And she showed me all the books that she had of T. S. Eliot’s and we talked about the poems … There were three or four poems that I particularly liked that we had read together and we just talked about them … She was dying. She was sick. I mean, she didn’t go to the hospital because she didn’t want to.’ The funeral service took place at the First Parish Church, Concord Center, at 11 a.m. on Thurs, Oct. 14. Hale is buried in Plot 45, Ascutney Cemetery, Windsor, Vermont. At her request, contributions in her memory were to be made to McLean Hospital, Belmont, Mass. – the psychiatric unit where her mother had passed the largest part of her adult life.

Select Bibliography

William Baker, ‘T. S. Eliot and Emily Hale: Some fresh evidence’, English Studies, 66: 5 (Oct. 1985), 432–6

Jewel Spears Brooker, ‘Eliot’s Ghost Story: Reflections on his Letters to Emily Hale’, Time Present: The Newsletter of the International T. S. Eliot Society, no. 101 (Summer 2020), 1, 10–11

—, ‘Pipit, the Hyacinth Girl, and the Silent Lady’, The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 4 (2022), 25–41

Richard Chase, ‘T. S. Eliot in Concord’, American Scholar, 16: 4 (Autumn 1947), 394–512

‘A Conversation with Sally Foss about Emily Hale, By Susan Stewart and Joshua Kotin’, Time Present: The Newsletter of the International T. S. Eliot Society, no. 100 (Spring 2020), 2, 18–23

Robert Crawford, Eliot After ‘The Waste Land’ (2022)

Ronan Crowley, Frances Dickey, Joshua Kotin, Robert Spoo, ‘T. S. Eliot’s Enclosures to Emily Hale: Three Uncollected James Joyce Letters’, James Joyce Quarterly 58: 3 (Spring 2021), 343–53

Frances Dickey, ‘May the Record Speak: The Correspondence of T. S. Eliot and Emily Hale’, Twentieth-Century Literature, 66: 4 (Dec. 2020), 431–62

—, ‘Eliot’s Letters to Emily Hale and His Personal Theory of Poetry’, The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 3 (2021), 123–8

—, ‘Give, Sympathize, Control: T. S. Eliot and Emily Hale’, Modernism/modernity, Volume 5, Cycle 2 (Sept. 28, 2020)

Frances Dickey and Sara Fitzgerald (eds), ‘In Her Own Words: Emily Hale’s Introduction to Eliot’s Letters’, Time Present: The Newsletter of the International T. S. Eliot Society no. 102 (Fall 2020), 1–2, 8–9

M. J. Dunbar, ‘Virginia Woolf to T. S. Eliot: Two Letters’, Virginia Woolf Miscellany 12 (1979), 1–3

The Letters of T. S. Eliot, vols. 3–9, ed. Valerie Eliot and John Haffenden (Faber & Faber, 2012–22)

Sara Fitzgerald, ‘Reconsidering Emily Hale’, The Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (UK), 2020, 45–58

—, ‘The Beginning of All Our Exploring’, The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 3 (2021), 161–70

—, ‘Searching for Emily Hale’, The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 3 (2021), 133–6

—, ‘Emily Hale’s Theatrical Career’, The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 4 (2022), 161–96

—, ‘“Because You Are You”: Emily Hale’s Letters’, The Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (UK), 2022, 1–38

Helen Gardner, The Composition of Four Quartets (1978)

Lyndall Gordon, T. S. Eliot: An Imperfect Life (1998; 2012)

—, ‘Prufrock Among the Women’, Oxford Today, 2: 3 (Trinity issue 1990), 26–8

—, ‘T S Eliot’s secret love’, Daily Telegraph Review, 12 Oct. 2019, 4–6.

—, The Hyacinth Girl: T. S. Eliot’s Hidden Muse (2022)

Phil Hanrahan, ‘T. S. Eliot’s secret love’, Lawrence Today, 81: 4 (Summer 1990 [2001]), 10–12:

Paul Keegan, ‘Emily of Fire & Violence’, London Review of Books, 42: 20 (22 Oct. 2020)

Margaret M. Keenan, ‘Mr Eliot’s Stay in Princeton’, Princeton History, no. 2 (1977), 60–7.

Paul Keers, ‘“The Aspern Papers in reverse”: A Note on the Emily Hale Letters’, Essays in Criticism 72: 3 (July 2022), 383–91

Kay Koeninger, ‘Search for Eliot’s Claremont Connection’, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 1982, Part V, 2, 34

James F. Loucks, ‘The Exile’s Return: Fragment of a T. S. Eliot Chronology’, ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes, and Reviews, 9: 2 (Spring 1996), 16–39

Joseph Maddrey, ‘T. S. Eliot and Los Angeles: A Photo Essay’:

Gabrielle McIntire, ‘Love’s Errors and Effacements’, The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 3 (2021), 155–60

Graham Pearson, ‘T. S. Eliot and Chipping Campden’, Signpost: The Journal of the Chipping Campden History Society 7 (Autumn 2017), 3–5

Graham Pearson, ‘Mrs Edith Carroll Perkins and Chipping Campden Gardens’, Signpost: The Journal of the Chipping Campden Historical Society, no. 8 (Spring 2018), 12–15

Ronald Schuchard et alii, The Complete Prose of T. S. Eliot (8 vols., Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press & Faber & Faber)

Don Skemer, ‘Sealed Treasure: T. S. Eliot Letters to Emily Hale’: posted on 16 May 2017:

‘Smiling gently, Mr Eliot instilled delight and fear into us by saying, “It is difficult to produce gems without making a fool of one’s self”,’ The Scripture (a weekly newspaper produced by the Scripps College student body), 3: 2 (9 Jan 1933)

‘“A Strange Story”: The Love Song of T. S. Eliot’, Daily Princetonian, 15 Apr. 2020

Michelle Taylor, ‘The secret history of T. S. Eliot’s muse’, New Yorker, 5 Dec. 2020

Aakanksha J. Virkar, ‘“Heart of Light”: Emily Hale and The Birth of Tragedy in The Waste Land’, The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 4

John Whittier-Ferguson and Frances Dickey, ‘“After such knowledge ...”: Readings in the Eliot–Hale Archive’, The T. S. Eliot Studies Annual 3 (2021), 113–21

Frances Dickey and John Whittier-Ferguson, ‘Joint Property, Divided Correspondents: The T. S. Eliot–Emily Hale Letters’, Modernism/modernity, Volume 5, Cycle 4 (Jan. 29, 2021)


1.See Ellen C. Sabin to Lucia R. Briggs, 18 May 1921, Milwaukee-Downer College Records: 1840–1964, Series I: Office of the President 1851–1962, Box 12, Correspondence Briggs, 1921, Folder, Wisconsin History Society, Milwaukee.

2.The Berkeley Street School, 1862–1912, was commonly referred to as ‘Miss Ingols’ School’ while Margaret Rae Ingols (1842–1904) served as principal, 1880–1904.

3.The Leland Powers School – whose name mutated with the years, starting out as the Leland Powers School of Elocution – was founded in 1904 in the Fenway area of Boston, and was later based in Brookline, Massachusetts (with a purpose-built school from 1914). Leland T. Powers (1857–1920), a successful actor, script editor and educator, undertook, with a faculty that included his wife and ten teachers, to teach up to 140 students annually.

4.The Cornish School (now the Cornish College of the Arts) was established in Seattle, Washington, in 1918 by the American actor, director and educator Ellen van Volkenburg (1882–1978), with her then-husband Maurice Browne (1881–1955) – a Cambridge-educated English actor and director. (Browne was no relation of Eliot’s colleague E. Martin Browne.)

5.The Ladies’ Lyceum Club, Piccadilly, had been founded in 1903 by the artist, playwright and author Constance Smedley (1876–1941) ‘for literary and artistic women in London’.

6.See Emily Hale Papers, Smith College: Box 837, Folder 1: Autobiographical Sketch.

7.Sara Fitzgerald, ‘Reconsidering Emily Hale’, Journal of the T. S. Eliot Society (U.K.), 2020, [45–58], 46: ‘Emily Hale was 26 when her father, by then pastor of First Unitarian Church of Chestnut Hill, died in 1918. At that time, she was living in a home he owned and designed; after his death, she took a job as a dorm matron at Simmons College in Boston.’

8.See ‘Dramatic Art’ – by Emily Hale, Assistant Professor of Vocal Expression – Milwaukee-Downer College Bulletin, 2: 2 (Nov. 1928), 5–11, in Appendix.

9.All the letters that EH kept are presented on this website; no other letters have survived.

10.See Hanrahan, ‘T. S. Eliot’s secret love’, Lawrence Today, 81: 4 (Summer 1990), 10–12.

11.Gordon cites Concord Academy Trustees’ minutes, 28 Sept. 1944.