A few months ago, I received an email from Helen Ross, daughter of Lesley Drummond Ross, one of the authors we knew nothing about. Now, thanks to Helen’s generous assistance, we will have a complete entry on her to add to our database, as well as some lovely tidbits to share with you here.
In 1935, Lesley published a play with Samuel French in New York: Don Andondo and the Poppydophilus: A Play in Three Acts. And really, how could they not publish a play with a name like that? The play was part of the Junior League Plays series, and won the Junior League Magazine competition announced in the September 1934 issue. The copy that Helen provided for us was sold in Canada; we can tell because a Canadian copyright disclaimer is pasted in over some of the publication information found on the back of the title page.
The play is interesting; unique, from a researchers point of view, are the two typed poems that Helen has provided us: “Clues on Clotheslines” and “Song of Spring.” These poems were sent to the Junior League Magazine in 1936 and 1937 respectively.
On 3 March 1937, Lesley received a standard rejection letter for “Song of Spring,” but appended by a hand-written personal note from the editor. Mona Gould’s papers in the Fisher Library at the University of Toronto also contain a number of such letters, in which the harsh impersonal rejection letter is softened by the almost affectionate tone of the magazines selection editor. In Leslie’s case, the note speaks unquestionably to a personal relationship between herself and the Montreal editor, Joan. Joan mentions the birth of Lesley’s “baby”; the April issue of the Junior League Magazine contains an announcement of the birth: “Dr. and Mrs. Graham Ross (Lesley Drummond), a son, February 23.” Lesley Drummond’s engagement and wedding announcements also appear in the magazine’s society pages. Her association with the Junior League’s Montreal branch was obviously strong; I’d love to know what other venues published her work.