Thomas Raddall Selected Correspondence: An Electronic Edition

About the electronic version

Copyright 2000. Dalhousie University.

PRINT SOURCE: Thomas Raddall Fonds, Correspondence. From Thomas Raddall to Barbara Lucas Grantmyre, 15 September, 1960. MS-2-202 41.64.

Subject Headings


When fellow Nova Scotia writer Barbara Grantmyre writes to compliment him on his new novel, The Governor's Lady, and especially on his characterization of John Wentworth, T. H. Raddall responds with a brief assessment of Wentworth's final years. Raddall notes that Doubleday made three errors on the dust-jacket blurb for The Governor's Lady, the most irksome being the misrepresentation of his relationship with John Buchan, Kenneth Roberts, and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.

Sep.15, 1960

Dear Mrs. Grantmyre,
     I'm glad you liked Governor's Lady. And
Johnnie Wentworth.1 He was really an admirable character in
his New Hampshire days, and his story after that is simply
the decline and fall of a good man. After his return to Halifax
as Governor (where I chose to end my book) he soon sank into
the rut left by Parr2 before him, or rather he permitted Fannie
to push him into it, constantly seeking money and favor for
himself, his friends and relatives. He became a pompous autocrat,
out to squelch anyone who questioned his ways, and finally the
British Government was glad to get rid of him, and the Nova
Scotians were glad to see him go.

Oddly enough, in the year he died in a boarding house at
Halifax, his old mansion in the New Hampshire hills was des-
troyed by fire, and the great pine tree on Mount Delight was
shattered by a bolt of lightning. His house in Portsmouth
still stands, and to this day you can stand by the site of
the Atkinson house and see the west bedchamber where Johnnie
used to watch for Fannie's signals.

The jacket blurb infuriated me. It was slapped together by
some hasty idiot and sent off to the printers without being
checked by me or by the editor who looks after my books at
Doubleday's New York office. Apart from the silly errors
-- Nova Scotia an island -- and the statements that I live
in Halifax and wrote a book called "Nova Scotia, Warden of
the North" -- there was that line about "having become friends
with John Buchan,3 Kenneth Roberts4 and Theodore Roosevelt Jr.5"
It would have been much more accurate to say that these three
men befriended me, a struggling young writer whom they had
never met, as they had befriended dozens of others.

I trust you are in good health and that your pen is fruitful.

Mrs. Barbara Grantmyre,
Elmsdale, N.S.


1. Sir John Wentworth (1737-1820) was Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 1792-1808. Prior to the American Revolution, Wentworth served as Governor of New Hampshire from 1766 to 1775. See entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1983).

2. John Parr (1725-1791), soldier and administrator, was governor of Nova Scotia from 1782 until his death. See entry in the Dictionary of Canadian Biography (Toronto: U of Toronto P, 1979).

3. John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, a prolific novelist and writer, was Governor-General of Canada from 1935 to 1940. The Governor-General's Literary Awards were instituted during his mandate. See entries in the Oxford Companion to English Literature (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1998) and in the Oxford Companion to Canadian Literature (Toronto: Oxford UP, 1997).

4. Kenneth Roberts (1885-1957), journalist and author from Maine, specialized in writing historical novels with colonial themes.

5. Theodore Roosevelt Jr. (1887-1944), soldier, publisher, and writer, was Vice-President of Doubleday, Doran & Co., THR's American publishers from 1942 to 1947.