Agenda ’18

An English Governess
in the Great War


Tuesday 27th of June at 7.30 pm
at the Museum Café of the In Flanders Fields Museum

lecture by Sophie De Schaepdrijver

An English Governess in the Great War
The Secret Brussels Diary of Mary Thorp
by S. De Schaepdrijver en T. M. Proctor

Mary Thorp, an English woman of no particular fame living and working as a governess for a wealthy Belgian-Russian family in World War I Brussels, started a secret diary in September 1916. Aware that her thoughts could put her in danger with German authorities, she never wrote her name on the diary. This unique diary survived the war and ended up in the collection of the In Flanders Fields Museum.

Mary Thorp's sharp and bittersweet reflections testify to the daily strains of living under enemy occupation, comment on the events of the war as they unfolded, and ultimately serve up a personal story of self-reliance and endurance.

Historians Sophie De Schaepdrijver and Tammy M. Proctor’s in-depth commentary situate this extraordinary woman in her complex political, social, and cultural context, thus providing an unusual chance to engage with the Great War on an intimate and personal level.

More about this book

An English Governessin the Great War