Thursday, 20 June 2013
I started investigating Eileen Marsh a little when a customer asked me to look out for books on girls/women who who flew planes in stories. Obviously certain authors crop up regularly, and the more I dug around, the more interested I became in what I discovered about Eileen Marsh/Dorothy Carter. I soon realised that when 'Women with Wings' was written (Mary Cadogan 1992), she wrote it not realising that Eileen Marsh and Dorothy Carter were one and the same, but then that was some 20 years ago. Since then a couple of people have done some research and discovered that not only are they the same person, but also several other 'authors' come under her umbrella as well. Thus I have decided to put together here what I have discovered thus far, for the use of people who are interested, and of course if anyone has anything else they would like to add or correct (as I can't 100% guarantee this,) please do contact me to let me know.
Dorothy/Eileen was married to Jack Heming, also a children's author, who was writing at a similar time. In turn his brother was Bracebridge Heming, another author of the period. It is rumoured that Jack and Dorothy went to London and had a meeting with someone, possibly W E Johns, and they decided that the book writing future was in aeroplane stories for children, and Jack launched into the more action orientated style, where Eileen delved into more relationship styled books - but then chose to diversify into different styles under different names.
The first sign of any published written work by this author appears to be around 1936 when suddenly she takes the published world by storm. However it isn't always easy to follow her publishing history as her works appear under a variety of names. She wrote in all using about 16 names, many of which, but not all, were variations of family names. The pen names she used that I am aware of are as follows:
Eileen Marsh - 26 books
Dorothy Carter - 14 books
Elizabeth Rogers - 9 books
Guy Dempster - 8 books (boys war)
Martin Kent - 6 books
D E Marsh - 6 books - aimed at boys.
Mary St. Helier*
D E Heming
E M Shard
* -books by these authors were mainly published by Lutterworth as Sunday school prizes. Occasionally she used these names to write adult novels. She didn't write many by these authors.
Thus 1936 saw Dorothy Carter publish Flying Dawn, which may have been her 1st book, but was certainly a very early publication. However in 1936 she managed to get 7 books published in all, 4 by Eileen Marsh, 1 by Dorothy Carter, 1 by Martin Kent and 1 by D E Marsh. 1937 was even more productive with 12 books published - 5 by Eileen Marsh, 1 by Martin Kent, 2 by D E Marsh 1 by James Cahill, 1 by Guy Dempster, 1 by Elizabeth Rogers and 1 by E M Shard. She continued this vast output for years and produced 120 books and short stories until 1948,.her short stories included 5 for Girls Own Paper:
1. Edna - Night Watcher (May 1939)
2. Mays Monoplane (June 1939)
3. Lizzie of the bush (August 1939) - an exciting one
4. Patricia's Party (September 1939)
5. Sally's Solo (February 1940)
One of her most popular series were the books she produced under the name of Dorothy Carter featuring her heroine Marise Duncan. This was a series of 6 books that were published between 1937 and 1944, and featured her favourite subject - girls flying aeroplanes.
In the first book Mistress of the Air (1st published in Girls Own Paper in 1937, but later transferred to book form in 1939) Marise aims to compete in, and of course win, the King's Cup air race (as in reality Winifred Brown did in 1930). In her 1940 book, 'Star of the Air', we see Marise go to Hollywood, 'Queen of the air' takes her to Canada - and that is the end of the peace time Marise books - from there on, it is Marise Duncan in a world at war. 1941 sees her in Germany in Sword of the Air, 1942 in russia in Comrades of the Air and 1944n the Far East/Japan in Marise flies South. These last 3 books are without doubt much more difficult to find now than the earlier books, so whether the print runs were shorter due to paper shortages - or even due to their war related material, who knows. Without doubt the most difficult to locate nowadays is Comrades of the Air - and if anyone reading this has a copy they would like to sell - please contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) as I have a customer extremely anxious to complete their set, who would be very interested in buying it!
You would think that with Eileen specialising in writing about girls who fly, that she would have been a pilot herself, but this was not the case. She did have a few lessons, but that was as far as it went. She certainly did not have a pilot's licence. Likewise you would have thought with so many of her books being set around the world - Canada, Africa, the USA, even up the Himalayas, that she would have been well travelled, but no, she had not visited many of the places she wrote about. Her stories were written whilst at home bringing up her 4 children. She must have read a good deal herself, and had a good imagination.
Sadly Dorothy died in 1948 - still relatively young. Having written so much, and cared for 4 children, I can only imagine she was very tired. Heather
At the time of writing the books pictured above (and many more by this author) are available for sale on our website at http://www.peakirkbooks.com - 'search' for them there for further details or/and to purchase.
I will add to this as and when I have time.
I would like to thank Professor Stephen Bigger for the information I have gained from his work on this author.