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Ménie Muriel Dowie

Ménie Muriel Dowie (15 July 1867 – 25 March 1945) was a British writer.

Early life and education

Dowie was born in Liverpool as the daughter of James Muir Dowie, a merchant, and Annie Dowie. Her maternal grandfather was Scottish author and publisher Robert Chambers.

Educated in Liverpool, Stuttgart, and France, she spent her early twenties travelling. Her most spectacular tour, in the summer of 1890, was through the Carpathian Mountains, where she travelled alone and on horseback. Her travelogue, A Girl in the Karpathians, was published the following year, and she also lectured to packed audiences.

Marriage and travel

In 1891 Dowie married journalist and travel writer Henry Norman, and over the next years travelled extensively with him. Their son, Henry Nigel St Valery Norman, was born in 1897.

Writing career

In 1895 her first novel, Gallia, was published. Gallia caused some controversy concerning its depiction of sexual relationships and clearly marked Dowie as one of the New Woman writers. Apart from other occasional writing, she published two more novels, The Crook of the Bough (1898), a satirical story describing contemporary attitudes to women in Turkey, and Love and His Mask (1901), about the Boer War.

Divorce and later life

In 1903 Henry Norman divorced her, causing a scandal by publicly accusing her of adultery with mountaineer Edward Fitzgerald. Dowie withdrew from the literary scene and married Fitzgerald later that year. Their marriage, however, remained childless. Years of extensive travel followed.

in 1915, Henry Norman was made a Baronet. Though divorced from Dowie, their son had been born during the term of the marriage, and thus became heir to the baronetcy on Norman's death in 1939.

In England, Dowie settled down on a farm in the country and became a well-known cattle breeder, exhibiting pedigree Red Poll at shows around England and exporting livestock to Mombasa, Kenya.

Dowie separated from Fitzgerald in 1928, and the latter died in 1931. Suffering from asthma, and also believing that Great Britain was going to lose the war, Dowie emigrated to the United States in 1941. In 1943 her son, by then Sir Henry Nigel St Valery Norman, 2nd Baronet, an Air Commodore in the Auxiliary Air Force (Reserve) and a father of three, was killed in an aircraft accident, aged 45.

Ménie Muriel Dowie died in Tucson, Arizona in 1945, aged 77.


  • Stephanie Forward: s.v. "Dowie, Ménie Muriel". The Cambridge Guide to Women's Writing in English, ed. Lorna Sage (CUP: Cambridge, 1999).
  • Helen Small: "Chronology of Dowie's Life and Times" and "Introduction". Ménie Muriel Dowie: Gallia (= Everyman's Library) (J. M. Dent: London, 1995) viii–xlii.

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