Mitchison, Lady Naomi

(1897-1999)
   She was born in Edinburgh, the daughter of a physiologist, John Scott Haldane. Her mother was a suffragist and Naomi grew up as a freethinking feminist. She studied science at Oxford University but left in 1915 to become a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse, and in 1916 she married the barrister Gilbert Mitchison (1890-1970). He was the Labor member of Parliament for Kettering Division, Northants, from 1945 to 1964, and was created a life peer in 1964. Mitchison visited the USA in the 1930s to see how the working class, poor and minorities were faring. She was adopted as adviser and Mmarona (mother) of the Bakgatha tribe of Botswana in the sixties. During her life she published over 70 historical novels and short-stories. Her novel We Have Been Warned (1935), which dealt with abortion and birth control, was censored. She was created Commander of the British Empire in 1985. From 1937 she lived at Carradale in Kintyre, Scotland, where she died. Some of her poems: "1943," "Dick and Colin at the Salmon Nets," "My True Love Hath My Heart," "Tennessee Snow," "The Boar of Badenoch and the Sow of Atholl," "The Farm Woman: 1942," "Woman Alone."
   Sources: Biography of Lady Naomi Mitchison (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/Wmitchison.htm). Chaos of the Night: Women's Poetry and Verse of the Second World War. Catherine W. Reilly, ed. Virago Press, 1984. Love's Witness: Five Centuries of Love Poetry by Women. Jill Hollis, ed. Carroll and Graf, Inc., 1993. Naomi Mitchison - a queen, a saint and a shaman (http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,5673,320853,00.html). Papers of Lady Naomi Mitchison (http://www.archiveshub.ac.uk/news/0501mitchison.html). Poems of the Scottish Hills: An Anthology. Hamish Brown, ed. Aberdeen University Press, 1982. The Oxford Companion to English Literature. 6th edition. Margaret Drabble, ed. Oxford University Press, 2000. Women's Poetry of the 1930s: A Critical Anthology. Jane Dowson, ed. Routledge, 1966.

British and Irish poets. A biographical dictionary. . 2015.

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