Chapter

Mary Clayton: Bombed out and keeping going

James Hinton

in Nine Wartime Lives

Published in print January 2010 | ISBN: 9780199574667
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702167 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574667.003.0004
Mary Clayton: Bombed out and keeping going

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This chapter focuses on wartime diarist Mary Clayton. Personal autonomy was not a problem for Mary who lived alone and ran her own business. Brought up a Methodist, married and divorced from a Catholic, she had, reluctantly, given up on religion. But she retained a powerful spirit of service, manifested in her work as a WVS leader in working-class Battersea, in her commitment to the Labour Party, and in her writing for Mass-Observation (MO), which, more than for any of the other diarists, was discrete to the point of secretiveness about personal matters. Mary's diary was an exercise in self-possession: the performance of a balanced, rational, responsible persona — sensible, useful, keeping an eye on herself but not self-indulgently introspective.

Keywords: Mary Clayton; wartime diaries; diarists; Second World War; divorce; personal matters

Chapter.  4851 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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