Maggie and the Bishops

Margaret Benson (1865-1916) came from an extraordinary family. Her father was the Archbishop of Canterbury and her mother was a strikingly independent woman. The six younger Bensons distinguished themselves in many different fields. All were scholars and authors. None ever married. Maggie was one of the first women to study at Oxford University and the first to receive official permission to excavate in Egypt. This letter to her partner Janet Gourlay was written from the archbishop’s palace in London, England, while Maggie was between archaeological digs.

08-01 08-02 08-03 08-04 08-05 08-06 08-07 08-09 09 feature

Fred’s Early Memory

E.F. “Fred” Benson (1867-1940) came from an extraordinary family. His father was the Archbishop of Canterbury. His mother was described by the British prime minister as “the cleverest woman in Europe.” Fred grew up to be a scholar and athlete, a champion figure skater, and prolific author. He never married. He is best known for his series of books about Mapp and Lucia. Late in his life he served as mayor of Rye, in Sussex, England.

07-01 07-02 07-03 07-04 07-05 07-06 07-07

Mr. Woodward’s Peacock

Arthur Christopher Benson (1862-1925) came from an extraordinary family. His father was the Archbishop of Canterbury and the six younger Bensons distinguished themselves in many different fields.

Arthur taught at Eton and later became master of Magdalene College at Cambridge. He was a prolific author, quite famous in his time. He co-edited  the published volumes of Queen Victoria’s letters, and wrote the lyrics to the famous song “Land of Hope and Glory.” His diary is one of the longest ever written–more than four million words in length.

04-01 04-02 04-03 04-04 04-05 04-06 04-07 04-feature

Maggie and the Sheep

Margaret Benson (1865-1916) came from an extraordinary family. Her father was the Archbishop of Canterbury and her mother was a strikingly independent woman. The six younger Bensons distinguished themselves in many different fields. All were scholars and authors. None ever married. Maggie was one of the first women to study at Oxford University and the first to receive official permission to excavate in Egypt. This letter to her mother was written when Maggie and her brother were travelling in France.

02-01 02-02 02-03 02-04 02-05 02-06 02-07 02-08