Edward Marsh (polymath)
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Sir Edward Howard Marsh (18 November 1872 – 13 January 1953) was a British
polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, , "having learned much"; la, homo universalis, "universal human") is an individual whose knowledge spans a substantial number of subjects, known to draw on complex bodies of knowledge to solve specific pro ...
, translator, arts patron and civil servant. He was the sponsor of the
Georgian Georgian may refer to: Common meanings * Anything related to, or originating from Georgia (country) ** Georgians, an indigenous Caucasian ethnic group ** Georgian language, a Kartvelian language spoken by Georgians **Georgian scripts, three scrip ...
school of poets and a friend to many poets, including
Rupert Brooke Rupert Chawner Brooke (3 August 1887 – 23 April 1915)The date of Brooke's death and burial under the Julian calendar that applied in Greece at the time was 10 April. The Julian calendar was 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. was an En ...
and
Siegfried Sassoon Siegfried Loraine Sassoon (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an English war poet, writer, and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both describ ...
. In his career as a civil servant he worked as private secretary to a succession of the United Kingdom's most powerful ministers, particularly
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
. He was a discreet but influential figure within Britain's homosexual community.


Early life

Marsh's father was
Howard Marsh Howard Warren Marsh (August 16, 1888 – August 7, 1969) was a leading Broadway tenor of the 1920s. Biography Howard Marsh was born in Bluffton, Indiana on August 16, 1888. He attended Purdue University, where he was a member of the fraternit ...
, a surgeon and later Master of
Downing College, Cambridge Downing College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge and currently has around 650 students. Founded in 1800, it was the only college to be added to Cambridge University between 1596 and 1869, and is often described as the olde ...
. His mother, born Jane Perceval, was a granddaughter of prime minister
Spencer Perceval Spencer Perceval (1 November 1762 – 11 May 1812) was a British statesman and barrister who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from October 1809 until his assassination in May 1812. Perceval is the only British prime minister to ...
, and a daughter of Spencer Perceval, MP, one of the twelve "apostles" recognized by the movement associated with
Edward Irving Edward Irving (4 August 17927 December 1834) was a Scottish clergyman, generally regarded as the main figure behind the foundation of the Catholic Apostolic Church. Early life Edward Irving was born at Annan, Annandale the second son of Ga ...
and known as the
Catholic Apostolic Church The Catholic Apostolic Church (CAC), also known as the Irvingian Church, is a Christian denomination and Protestant sect which originated in Scotland around 1831 and later spread to Germany and the United States.Westminster School (God Gives the Increase) , established = Earliest records date from the 14th century, refounded in 1560 , type = Public school Independent day and boarding school , religion = Church of England , head_label = Hea ...
, London, and
Trinity College, Cambridge Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Founded in 1546 by Henry VIII, King Henry VIII, Trinity is one of the largest Cambridge colleges, with the largest financial endowment of any college at either Cambridge ...
, where he studied classics under
Arthur Woollgar Verrall Arthur Woollgar Verrall (5 February 1851, Brighton – 18 June 1912, Cambridge) was a British classics scholar associated with Trinity College, Cambridge, and the first occupant of the King Edward VII Chair of English. He was noted for his transl ...
. At Cambridge, he became associated with R.C. Trevelyan,
Bertrand Russell Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, (18 May 1872 – 2 February 1970) was a British mathematician, philosopher, logician, and public intellectual. He had a considerable influence on mathematics, logic, set theory, linguistics, ...
,
G.E. Moore George Edward Moore (4 November 1873 – 24 October 1958) was an English philosopher, who with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein and earlier Gottlob Frege was among the founders of analytic philosophy. He and Russell led the turn from ideal ...
, and
Maurice Baring Maurice Baring (27 April 1874 – 14 December 1945) was an English man of letters, known as a dramatist, poet, novelist, translator and essayist, and also as a travel writer and war correspondent, with particular knowledge of Russia. During Wo ...
. He was a
Cambridge Apostle The Cambridge Apostles (also known as ''Conversazione Society'') is an intellectual society at the University of Cambridge founded in 1820 by George Tomlinson, a Cambridge student who became the first Bishop of Gibraltar.W. C. Lubenow, ''The Ca ...
.


Civil servant

In 1896 he was appointed Assistant Private Secretary to
Joseph Chamberlain Joseph Chamberlain (8 July 1836 – 2 July 1914) was a British statesman who was first a radical Liberal, then a Liberal Unionist after opposing home rule for Ireland, and eventually served as a leading imperialist in coalition with the Cons ...
, the Colonial Secretary. When Chamberlain resigned in 1903, Marsh became Private Secretary to his successor,
Alfred Lyttelton Alfred Lyttelton KC (7 February 1857 – 5 July 1913) was a British politician and sportsman from the Lyttelton family who excelled at both football and cricket. During his time at university he participated in Varsity Matches in five sports ...
. When
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
became
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies The Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies was a junior Ministerial post in the United Kingdom government, subordinate to the Secretary of State for the Colonies and, from 1948, also to a Minister of State. Under-Secretaries of State for the Col ...
in 1905 during
Henry Campbell-Bannerman Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman (né Campbell; 7 September 183622 April 1908) was a British statesman and Liberal politician. He served as the prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1905 to 1908 and leader of the Liberal Party from 1899 to 190 ...
's first Government, Marsh became Churchill's Private Secretary, beginning an association and friendship that would last until Marsh's death. Marsh would be Churchill's Private Secretary for the next ten years, until Churchill left the Government in 1915. As Randolph Churchill put it, from December 1905, "Marsh was to accompany Churchill to every Government department he occupied: to the
Board of Trade The Board of Trade is a British government body concerned with commerce and industry, currently within the Department for International Trade. Its full title is The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council appointed for the consideration of ...
, the Home Office,
the Admiralty The Admiralty was a department of the Government of the United Kingdom responsible for the command of the Royal Navy until 1964, historically under its titular head, the Lord High Admiral – one of the Great Officers of State. For much of it ...
, the
Duchy of Lancaster The Duchy of Lancaster is the private estate of the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, British sovereign as Duke of Lancaster. The principal purpose of the estate is to provide a source of independent income to the sovereign. The estate consists of ...
, the
Ministry of Munitions The Minister of Munitions was a British government position created during the First World War to oversee and co-ordinate the production and distribution of munitions for the war effort. The position was created in response to the Shell Crisis of ...
, the
War Office The War Office was a department of the British Government responsible for the administration of the British Army between 1857 and 1964, when its functions were transferred to the new Ministry of Defence (MoD). This article contains text from ...
, back to his original
Colonial Office The Colonial Office was a government department of the Kingdom of Great Britain and later of the United Kingdom, first created to deal with the colonial affairs of British North America but required also to oversee the increasing number of col ...
and the
Treasury A treasury is either *A government department related to finance and taxation, a finance ministry. *A place or location where treasure, such as currency or precious items are kept. These can be state or royal property, church treasure or in p ...
." The moves were somewhat irregular as Marsh remained, until 1937, officially a clerk at the Colonial Office, but many exceptions were made, possibly at a cost to Marsh's official advancement. When Churchill left government for the first time in 1915, Marsh became Assistant Private Secretary to Prime Minister
H. H. Asquith Herbert Henry Asquith, 1st Earl of Oxford and Asquith, (12 September 1852 – 15 February 1928), generally known as H. H. Asquith, was a British statesman and Liberal Party politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom f ...
in which position he served until the fall of Asquith's government in December 1916. When Churchill returned to government as Minister of Munitions in 1916, Marsh joined him there as Private Secretary and worked in that position through successive departments until the fall of
David Lloyd George David Lloyd George, 1st Earl Lloyd-George of Dwyfor, (17 January 1863 – 26 March 1945) was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1916 to 1922. He was a Liberal Party politician from Wales, known for leading the United Kingdom during t ...
's Coalition Government in 1922. When Churchill became
Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to chancellor, is a senior minister of the Crown within the Government of the United Kingdom, and head of His Majesty's Treasury. As one of the four Great Offices of State, the Chancellor is ...
in 1924, Marsh joined him there as Private Secretary and remained at the Treasury until the fall of
Stanley Baldwin Stanley Baldwin, 1st Earl Baldwin of Bewdley, (3 August 186714 December 1947) was a British Conservative Party politician who dominated the government of the United Kingdom between the world wars, serving as prime minister on three occasions, ...
's second government in 1929, when Marsh was returned to work at the Colonial Office. He then served as Private Secretary to every Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1929 until his retirement in 1937. Marsh was knighted upon his retirement and became Sir Edward Marsh.


Literary career

A classical scholar and translator, Marsh edited five anthologies of ''
Georgian Poetry Georgian Poetry refers to a series of anthologies showcasing the work of a school of English poetry that established itself during the early years of the reign of King George V of the United Kingdom. The Georgian poets were, by the strictest ...
'' between 1912 and 1922, and he became
Rupert Brooke Rupert Chawner Brooke (3 August 1887 – 23 April 1915)The date of Brooke's death and burial under the Julian calendar that applied in Greece at the time was 10 April. The Julian calendar was 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. was an En ...
's
literary executor The literary estate of a deceased author consists mainly of the copyright and other intellectual property rights of published works, including film, translation rights, original manuscripts of published work, unpublished or partially completed wo ...
, editing his ''Collected Poems'' in 1918. Later in life he published verse translations of
La Fontaine Jean de La Fontaine (, , ; 8 July 162113 April 1695) was a French fabulist and one of the most widely read French poets of the 17th century. He is known above all for his ''Fables'', which provided a model for subsequent fabulists across Euro ...
and
Horace Quintus Horatius Flaccus (; 8 December 65 – 27 November 8 BC), known in the English-speaking world as Horace (), was the leading Roman lyric poet during the time of Augustus (also known as Octavian). The rhetorician Quintilian regarded his ' ...
, and a translation of
Eugène Fromentin Eugène Fromentin (24 October 182027 August 1876) was a French painter and writer, now better remembered for his writings. Life He was born in La Rochelle. After leaving school he studied for some years under Louis Cabat, the landscape painter. ...
's novel ''Dominique''. The sales of the first three ''Georgian Poetry'' anthologies were impressive, ranging between 15,000 and 19,000 copies apiece. Marsh and the critic
J. C. Squire Sir John Collings Squire (2 April 1884 – 20 December 1958) was a British writer, most notable as editor of the ''London Mercury'', a major literary magazine in the interwar period. He antagonised several eminent authors, but attracted a coterie ...
were the group's most important patrons, and it was in Marsh's London rooms that
Siegfried Sassoon Siegfried Loraine Sassoon (8 September 1886 – 1 September 1967) was an English war poet, writer, and soldier. Decorated for bravery on the Western Front, he became one of the leading poets of the First World War. His poetry both describ ...
and Rupert Brooke met for the only time, in June 1914. In 1931, he won a literary contest with a new stanza for ''
Paradise Lost ''Paradise Lost'' is an epic poem in blank verse by the 17th-century English poet John Milton (1608–1674). The first version, published in 1667, consists of ten books with over ten thousand lines of verse (poetry), verse. A second edition fo ...
'', which repairs the omission of ho
"Adam and Eve Brush Their Teeth"
In 1939, he produced his memoirs, titled ''A Number of People.'' An edited collection of letters, ''Ambrosia and Small Beer,'' appeared in 1964, recording two decades of correspondence with his friend and biographer,
Christopher Hassall Christopher Vernon Hassall (24 March 1912 – 25 April 1963) was an English actor, dramatist, librettist, lyricist and poet, who found his greatest fame in a memorable musical partnership with the actor and composer Ivor Novello after work ...
. Marsh advised Somerset Maugham about his writing between 1935 and 1953 with hundreds of pages of criticism. This is recorded in Ted Morgan's biography of Maugham (1980.) Marsh was also a consistent collector and supporter of the works of the avant-garde artists Mark Gertler,
Duncan Grant Duncan James Corrowr Grant (21 January 1885 – 8 May 1978) was a British painter and designer of textiles, pottery, theatre sets and costumes. He was a member of the Bloomsbury Group. His father was Bartle Grant, a "poverty-stricken" major ...
,
David Bomberg David Garshen Bomberg (5 December 1890 – 19 August 1957) was a British painter, and one of the Whitechapel Boys. Bomberg was one of the most audacious of the exceptional generation of artists who studied at the Slade School of Art under Henry ...
and Paul Nash, all of whom were also associated with the
Bloomsbury Group The Bloomsbury Group—or Bloomsbury Set—was a group of associated English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists in the first half of the 20th century, including Virginia Woolf, John Maynard Keynes, E. M. Forster and Lytton Strac ...
. In addition to his work editing Churchill's writing, Marsh introduced Siegfried Sassoon to Churchill as a means of aiding the former's career. He was also a close friend of
Ivor Novello Ivor Novello (born David Ivor Davies; 15 January 1893 – 6 March 1951) was a Welsh actor, dramatist, singer and composer who became one of the most popular British entertainers of the first half of the 20th century. He was born into a musical ...
.


References


Sources

* Gilbert, Martin. ''Winston S. Churchill: The Challenge of War 1914–1916''.(c) 1971 C&T Publications, Ltd. * Gilbert, Martin. ''Winston S. Churchill: The Stricken World 1916–1922''.(c) 1975 C&T Publications, Ltd., ''etc.'' * Churchill, Randolph S., and Martin Gilbert. 1966. ''Winston S. Churchill''. London: Heinemann. * Gilbert, Martin. 1992. ''Churchill: A Life''. 1st Owl book ed. New York: Holt. * Hassall, Christopher. 1959. ''A Biography of Edward Marsh''. First American edition. New York: Harcourt, Brace. * Hassall, Christopher, Denis Mathews, and Winston Churchill. 1953. ''Eddie Marsh: Sketches for a Composite Literary Portrait of Sir Edward Marsh''. London: Lund Humphries. * La Fontaine, Jean de, Edward Howard Marsh, and Stephen Gooden. 1931. ''The Fables of Jean de La Fontaine''. London: New York: Heinemann; Random House. * Marsh, Edward Howard. 1939. ''A Number of People: A Book of Reminiscences''. New York, London: Harper & brothers. * Marsh, Edward Howard, and Christopher Hassall. 1965. ''Ambrosia and Small Beer: The Record of a Correspondence between Edward Marsh and Christopher Hassall''. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World. * Schroder, John, and Joan Hassall. 1970. ''Catalogue of Books and Manuscripts by Rupert Brooke, Edward Marsh & Christopher Hassall''. Cambridge: Rampart Lions Press.


External links

* *
Elizabeth Whitcomb Houghton Collection
containing letters by Marsh
Sir Edward Marsh: an inventory of his collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Schroder Collection (Rupert Brooke), Cambridge University Digital Library
digitised correspondence etc between Marsh,
William Denis Browne William Charles Denis Browne (3 November 1888 – 4 June 1915), primarily known as Billy to family and as Denis to his friends, was a British composer, pianist, organist and music critic of the early 20th century. He and his close friend, poet Ru ...
, and
Rupert Brooke Rupert Chawner Brooke (3 August 1887 – 23 April 1915)The date of Brooke's death and burial under the Julian calendar that applied in Greece at the time was 10 April. The Julian calendar was 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar. was an En ...

A collection of Marsh's letters
held at the Cadbury Research Library,
University of Birmingham , mottoeng = Through efforts to heights , established = 1825 – Birmingham School of Medicine and Surgery1836 – Birmingham Royal School of Medicine and Surgery1843 – Queen's College1875 – Mason Science College1898 – Mason Univers ...

Papers of Edward Marsh
particularly containing material related to Churchill, held at
Churchill Archives Centre The Churchill Archives Centre (CAC) at Churchill College at the University of Cambridge is one of the largest repositories in the United Kingdom for the preservation and study of modern personal papers. It is best known for housing the papers of ...
{{DEFAULTSORT:Marsh, Edward British translators British classical scholars British book editors British memoirists Private secretaries in the British Civil Service LGBT people from England People educated at Westminster School, London Knights Commander of the Royal Victorian Order Companions of the Order of the Bath Companions of the Order of St Michael and St George LGBT civil servants from the United Kingdom 1872 births 1953 deaths