Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
Clement-Jones family - Person Sheet
NameNaomi Mary Margaret HALDANE CBE , 9437
FatherJohn Scott HALDANE CH FRS , 9446 (1860-1936)
MotherLouisa Kathleen TROTTER , 9450 (1863-1961)
ChildrenJohn Murdoch , 9435 (1922-2011)
 Geoffrey , 9442 (1918-1927)
 Denis Anthony , 9443 (1919-)
 (Nicholas) Avrion , 9444 (1928-)
Notes for Naomi Mary Margaret HALDANE CBE
Naomi May Margaret Mitchison, CBE (née Haldane; 1 November 1897 – 11 January 1999) was a Scottish novelist and poet. She was appointed CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1981; she was also entitled to call herself Lady Mitchison, CBE since 5 October 1964 (but never apparently used that style herself).
Contents [hide]
1 Biography
1.1 Childhood and family background
1.2 Literary career
1.3 Activism
1.4 Later life
2 Bibliography
2.1 Autobiography
2.2 Novels
2.3 Collections
2.4 Plays
2.5 Non-fiction
3 Note on her title
4 References
5 Sources
6 External links

[edit]Childhood and family background
Naomi Margaret Haldane was born at Edinburgh, the daughter and younger child of the physiologist John Scott Haldane and his wife (Louisa) Kathleen Trotter. Naomi's parents came from different political backgrounds, her father being a Liberal and her mother from a Tory and pro-imperialist family. However, both families were of landed stock, and the Haldane family had been feudal barons of Gleneagles since the 13th century, but were nevertheless known for their achievements in other spheres. Today, the best known member of the family is probably Naomi's elder brother, the biologist J.B.S. Haldane (1892–1964), but in her youth her paternal uncle Richard Burdon Haldane, 1st Viscount Haldane, twice Lord Chancellor (from 1912-1915 under Herbert Henry Asquith, and in 1924 during the first Labour government of Ramsay Macdonald), was better known.
Naomi was educated at the Dragon School, Oxford and began a science degree at the University of Oxford, but gave this up to become a VAD nurse during the First World War. She returned to her studies after catching scarlet fever, and restarted her studies in science (as a home student) at what is now St Anne's College, Oxford.
In 1916 Naomi married the barrister Gilbert Richard Mitchison (23 March 1894– 14 February 1970), who was a close friend of her brother Jack. He was then on leave from the Western Front of World War I, and like her, he came from a well-connected and wealthy family. Her husband became a QC, then a Labour politician, and eventually a Life Peer as Baron Mitchison in August 1964. They had seven children. Dick and Naomi Mitchison's four sons were Geoffrey (1918–1927, who died of meningitis) Denis (born 1919) later a professor of bacteriology, Murdoch (born 1922), and Avrion (born 1928), both professors of zoology. Their three daughters were Lois, Valentine, and Clemency (who died in 1940 shortly after her birth).
They lived from 1939 at Carradale House at Carradale in Kintyre, where Naomi died in 1999.
[edit]Literary career
Mitchison was a prolific writer, completing more than 90 books in her lifetime, across a multitude of styles and genres. These include historical novels such as her first novel The Conquered (1923) a story set in 1st century BC Gaul during the Gallic Wars of Julius Caesar, and her second novel Cloud Cuckoo Land (1925) set in 5th century BC Ancient Greece during the Peloponnesian War. Her best work is considered The Corn King and the Spring Queen (1931) which treats three different societies including a wholly fictional one, and also frankly explores themes of sexuality (daring for its day). Terri Windling described it as "a lost classic".[1]
Later works included more historical novels The Bull Calves (1947) about the 1745 Jacobite Rising and The Young Alexander the Great (1960). Mitchison also turned to fantasy such as Graeme and the Dragon (1954; Graeme was her grandson through Denis); science fiction such as Memoirs of a Spacewoman (1962) and Solution Three (1975); fantasy such as the humorous Arthurian novel To the Chapel Perilous (1955), non-fiction such as African Heroes (1968), together with children's novels, poetry, travel and a three-volume autobiography.
Undoubtedly her most controversial work, We Have Been Warned was published in 1935 and explored sexual behaviour, including rape and abortion. The book was rejected by various publishers, was extensively rewritten to make it more acceptable to publishers, and was still subject to censorship. Maxim Lieber served as her literary editor in 1935.
After her husband's death, Mitchison wrote several memoirs, published as separate titles between 1973 and 1985. She was also a good friend of the writer J. R. R. Tolkien and she was one of the proof readers of The Lord of the Rings.


Mitchison, like her brother, was a committed Socialist in the 1930s. She visited the Soviet Union in 1932, and wrote We Have Been Warned about her experiences during that trip. The book was not successful, nor was her fictionalizing of stories about Jews living under the Nazi regime in Germany and Austria. She stood unsuccessfully as a Labour Party candidate for the Scottish Universities in 1935, at a time when universities were allowed to elect MPs. Eventually, as her political candidacy and her pro-Left writings both failed, she gradually became disenchanted with the Left. In 1939, when World War II broke out, Dick and Naomi Mitchison moved to Carradale in Scotland where they spent the rest of their lives. During the war she was active in farming there.[2] Her name was on Orwell's list, a list of people which George Orwell prepared in March 1949 for the Information Research Department, a propaganda unit set up at the Foreign Office by the Labour government. Orwell considered these people to have pro-communist leanings and therefore to be inappropriate to write for the IRD.

Mitchison's advocacy continued in other ways. She acted a spokeswoman for the island communities of Scotland, and became an advisor to the Bakgatla tribe of Botswana.

Mitchison was a Life Fellow of the Eugenics Society. She was also a vocal campaigner for women's rights, advocating birth control, and was also active in local government in Scotland (1947–1976). Her own lack of knowledge about birth control (as stated in her memoirs) led to her interest in the causes of birth control and abortion. Mitchison helped found the first birth control clinics in London. Today, she is best known for her advocacy of feminism and her tackling of then-taboo subjects in her writing.

Mitchison was also present and supporting a Stop the Seventy Tour rally, aiming to stop the apartheid South African rugby and cricket tours of Britain, in December 1969.

Later life

On 5 October 1964, Dick Mitchison was created a life peer as Baron Mitchison of Carradale in the County of Argyll on retirement for his political work. His wife Naomi thus became Lady Mitchison (as the wife of a Life Peer), but apparently chose not to use the title. Her husband died in 1970, but Naomi remained active as a writer well into her eighties. She was appointed CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1981. Continuing to write into her eighties, she died at Carradale at the age of 101. She was survived by her three younger sons (all scientists) and her two elder daughters, and by several other descendants.
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