Emmuska, Baroness Orczy

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EBO , a best-selling novelist of the early twentieth century, is best-known for The Scarlet Pimpernel, her romance of aristocrats during the French Revolution. This was a play before it was a novel, and according to its author provoked a polarised response, with ecstatic audiences and fiercely disapproving critics. Apart from almost a dozen Scarlet Pimpernel sequels, she published many other historical romances, a few thrillers with modern settings, one historial biography, and her memoirs. Her short stories include a pioneering volume about a woman detective, who, as an amateur relying on her intelligence, intuition, and feminine guile, regularly out-performs her male professional associates.
Black and white photograph of Baroness Emmuska Orczy, shown from the shoulders up, wearing a V-necked dress pinned with a brooch, with a gauzy fichu in the V and a larger brooch pinned in the middle. She is wearing pearl earrings and two strands of pearl necklace; her hair is dark, short, and curly.
"Baroness Emmuska Orczy" Retrieved from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/87/Baroness_Emma_Orczy_by_Bassano.jpg. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) Public Domain Dedication license. This work is in the public domain.

Milestones

23 September 1865
Emma, Baroness Orczy , was born at her grandparents' home, the huge, rambling, square, commodious and ugly family country house of Tarnaörs on the Hungarian puszta, seventy-five or so kilometres west of Budapest.
She herself writes the name of the house as two words, hyphenated: Tarno-ors.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Emmuska, Baroness Orczy,. Links in the Chain of Life. Hutchinson, 1947.
9-10
Friday 13 May 1903
A stage version of Emma, Baroness Orczy 's The Scarlet Pimpernel (written by herself and her husband ) was accepted for production by Fred Terry and his wife Julia Neilson to follow the successful Sweet Nell of Old Drury.
Emmuska, Baroness Orczy,. Links in the Chain of Life. Hutchinson, 1947.
100
Early 1905
EBO 's The Scarlet Pimpernel (about heroic English aristocrats led by Sir Percy Blakeney rescuing their French counterparts during the revolutionary Terror) won instant success as a novel after a shaky debut on stage.
Emmuska, Baroness Orczy,. Links in the Chain of Life. Hutchinson, 1947.
107
By 21 November 1940
The stage version of EBO 's The Scarlet Pimpernel, written by herself and her husband, Montagu Barstow , opened in London, where despite war and bombing it was highly popular with audiences.
“The Times Digital Archive 1785-2007”. Thompson Gale: The Times Digital Archive.
(21 November 1940): 6
12 November 1947
Emma, Baroness Orczy , died at Brown's Hotel in London of kidney failure.
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray, Brian Harrison, and Lawrence Goldman, editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
By 22 November 1947
In the year that Emma, Baroness Orczy , died there appeared her autobiography, Links in the Chain of Life, which she had begun writing in 1938, before the war.
British Library Catalogue.
Emmuska, Baroness Orczy,. Links in the Chain of Life. Hutchinson, 1947.
136n
TLS Centenary Archive Centenary Archive [1902-2012].
2309 (22 November 1947): 604

Biography

Christened Emma, which she calls a very ugly name, she was called Emmuska, meaning little Emma in Hungarian.
Emmuska, Baroness Orczy,. Links in the Chain of Life. Hutchinson, 1947.
23
As an adult this was the name she chose and preferred. Although she is nearly always referred to by her title, she did sign preliminary materials as Emmuska Orczy. It is not clear whether she ever used her husband's surname.

Birth and Background