Born at 29 Horse Market, Kelso on 2nd November 1863,
Jane Thompson Stoddart became an author and a journalist.
Jane attended the Kelso Ladies College at Maitland House
in Forestfield in Kelso. Her later autobiography entitled My
Harvest of the Years recounted her experience at her Kelso
school giving a fascinating description of the teachers and
her life at the school as a boarder.
At that time the Rev. William Robertson Nicoll (later to become Sir William Robertson Nicoll CH) was the Free Church minister in Kelso, and he was to greatly influence her life.
She became a pupil teacher at Bruntsfield, Edinburgh where she enthusiastically observed the first Midlothian campaign by William Gladstone. In 1881 she went to Hanover to teach and learn German, translating Richard Rothe’s Stille Stunden in 1888.
Moving back to Great Britain she taught at Durdham Down, Clifton for three years, where she wrote her only fiction A Door of Hope (1886) and In Cheviots Glens (1887).
In 1890 she became a full-time journalist, working as assistant editor of The British Weekly, of which Nicoll was the editor. This was at that time the chief London nonconformist paper. At a time when the interview was becoming a prominent feature of British weeklies, she became the paper’s chief interviewer, publishing many of her interviews under the byline Lorna. She also became assistant editor of Woman at Home, an illustrated magazine intended as a Strand Magazine for women, and subtitled ‘Annie S. Swan’s Magazine’, with the Scottish novelist being chief contributor.
Stoddart maintained a steady stream of publications including the biographies The Life of Empress Eugenie (1906) and The Girlhood of Mary Queen of Scotts (1908). Her The New Testament in Life and Literature was a substantial work.
Introducing readers to a wide, and for the time, varied sources, her New Socialism: an Impartial Inquiry was a valuable work. After World War One she published The Case against Spiritualism (1919) and other works including her aforementioned autobiography in 1938.
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