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28 November 2007

Micky Jacob (1884 - 1964) A forgotten major novellist

Micky Jacob (1884 – 1964). Pen name: Naomi Ellington Jacob. Aka Jake. Born: Ellington Gray in Ripon, Yorkshire.

Jacob began her working life as a teacher, but left after six years when the school board objected to her wearing trousers, and she found them to be authoritarian. Then for seven years she was secretary/companion to her lover Marguerite Broadfoote.

She went on the stage as a comic actress. Later, in her 40s when tuberculosis prevented continuation of her career as an actress, she became a prolific author, writing 75 novels. She also wrote advice books, women’s magazine serials and a biography of Marie Lloyd, the Music Hall singer.

Jacob claimed that she served as a seaman--successfully passing as a male in WWI. She also served in the Women's Legion in WWI.

She was a suffragette, and converted from Judaism to Roman Catholicism.

Upon two occasions her domestic arrangements involved a menage a trois with two other women.

She won the Eichelberger Prize (1935) for "services to humanity", but when Jacob learned she shared the prize with Adolf Hitler for "Mein Kampf", she refused it. Many of her novels were best-sellers in the 1930, and she wrote many volumes of autobiography.

She survived 2 bouts of tuberculosis and a struggle with malaria. In 1929 she moved to Italy for her health.

During WWII she worked for the Ministry of Information, and then served with ENSA in North Africa where she caught malaria.

She usually wore male clothing as ‘more practical’.

Today her books are out-of-print and she is largely forgotten.
  • Naomi Ellington Jacob. Me, a Chronicle About Other People. London: Hutchinson 1933.
  • Naomi Ellington Jacob. Me – Again. London: Hutchinson 1937.
  • Naomi Ellington Jacob. More About Me. London: Hutchinson 1939.
  • Naomi Ellington Jacob. Me –looking Back. London: Hutchinson 1950.
  • Naomi Ellington Jacob. Me – and the Stags. London: William Kimber 1964
  • Naomi Ellington Jacob. Naomi Jacob: The Seven Ages of Me. London: W. Kimber 1965.
  • Paul Bailey. Three Queer Lives: An Alternative Biography of Naomi Jacob, Fred Barnes, and Arthur Marshall. Penguin 2004.
  • Claire M. Tylee. “'Ticketing oneself a Yid': Generic fiction, antisemitism and the response to Nazi atrocities in Naomi Jacob's 1936 Novel, Barren Metal”. Working Papers on the Web. http://extra.shu.ac.uk/wpw/thirties/thirties%20tylee.html.

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