HAVERS, DOROTHY HENRIETTA (married name:  Boulger. pseudonym:  Theo Gift)

1847 - 1923 from England

novelist, was born at Thelton Hall, Norfolk, daughter of Thomas HAVERS and Ellen, née Ruding.

In 1854 Dorothy moved with her parents to the Falkland Islands, where her father was manager of the Falkland Islands Company. Her mother died in Stanley and her father married the governess.

The family moved to Montevideo in 1861, where her father died in 1870, whereupon the family returned to England. Dorothy Havers began to write stories for magazines and published her first novel in 1874. Her early novels are contemporary romances and the influence of her family's Catholicism is more pronounced than in her later works.

496 A Victorian ghost story written by...

As Dorothy wrote under the name of Theo Gift, some reviewers believed she was a man. Maid Ellice, which she wrote in 1878, is semi-autobiographical, about an orphaned girl from Montevideo moving to England and the contrast with her upbringing in Uruguay.

On 22 April 1879 she married George Simonds Boulger, an eminent botanist. After marriage she wrote another semi autobiographical work, Lil Lorimer, and a book for children, Cape Town Dicky, illustrated by her sister Alice HAVERS.


Little Colonists - published in 1890

During the 1890s she wrote two books of fiction for girls which are set in the Falkland Islands: The Little Colonists (1890) and An Island Princess (1893). These give a vivid picture of the isolated life of the colonists and careful descriptions of landscape and flora. She does not evade difficult topics like alcoholism or over-zealous missionaries. The stories celebrate practical, confident and independent minded young women and indeed a determination to speak up for working women is a feature of all her work. She did not publish after 1901.

Dorothy Havers died in South Kensington on 22 July 1923.

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Kate Flint

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May 2019 Photograph added
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July 2019 External link added
November 2019 Additional photograph added