Martha Edith Almedingen
Biography of Martha Edith Almedingen
E. M. Almedingen (born Marta Aleksandrovna Almedingen, also known as Martha Edith Almedingen or von Almedingen) (1898–1971) was a British novelist, biographer and children's author of Russian origin.
On her mother's side, she was descended from the aristocratic Poltoratsky family; her maternal grandfather was Serge Poltoratzky, the literary scholar and bibliophile who ended his days in exile, shuttling between France and England. His second wife Ellen Sarah Southee, 16 years his junior, and the daughter of an English gentleman farmer, grew up in Kent. She was related to poet Robert Southey. Their children had English governesses and grew up speaking English. His daughter Olga, the novelist's mother, grew up in Kent but was fascinated by her father's native Russia and in the early 1880s moved there, marrying Alexander Almedingen (of a family that had moved "from Spain... to Saxony, from Saxony to Austria, from Austria to Russia"), who had turned his back on his family's military traditions to become a scientist. After her father abandoned his family in 1900, they lived in increasingly impoverished circumstances, well described in her memoir Tomorrow Will Come, but the author was able to attend the Xenia Institute and eke out a living in the increasingly desperate times of revolution and civil war. In September 1922 she managed to get permission to leave the country and went to England, where she became a well-known children's author. In 1941 she won the $5,000 Atlantic Monthly nonfiction prize for Tomorrow Will Come. Five years later she moved to Frogmore, a house near Upton Magna in Shropshire, where she remained until her death.