Josephine Mary Ward (née Hope or Hope-Scott; also known as Mrs. Wilfrid Ward; 18 May 1864 – 20 November 1932) was a British novelist and nonfiction writer. Her literary works, deeply rooted in her Roman Catholic faith, include ten novels and a novella, such as “One Poor Scruple” (1899), “Out of Due Time” (1906), “The Job Secretary” (1911), and “Tudor Sunset” (1932). While her novels gained considerable acclaim during her lifetime, they largely faded into obscurity following her death, though some have been reprinted in the 21st century.

Born in Westminster, London, Josephine was the daughter of James Robert Hope-Scott, a lawyer, and Lady Victoria Alexandrina Fitzalan Howard, daughter of Henry Fitzalan-Howard, Duke of Norfolk. Orphaned by 1873, she and her siblings were raised by their grandmother, the dowager Duchess of Norfolk, at Arundel Castle and later in East Sussex. Josephine received a private education.

In 1887, she married Wilfrid Philip Ward, a biographer and later editor of the Dublin Review. The couple, both Roman Catholics, had five children, including writer and publisher Maisie Ward. The Wards were part of a circle that included many prominent Catholics and literary figures of the time.

Josephine Ward was known for opposing women’s suffrage and was actively involved in various Catholic organizations, including the Catholic Evidence Guild and the Catholic Women’s League. During World War I, she contributed to the Catholic Soldiers’ Association and offered her house in Dorking for use by injured servicemen.

After her husband’s death in 1916, Ward moved to London and lived with her daughter Maisie. She provided the initial finance for Sheed and Ward, the Catholic publishing house founded by Maisie and her husband.

Josephine Ward passed away in Mayfair in 1932 and was buried at Freshwater on the Isle of Wight. Her life and work, along with that of her husband, were chronicled by her daughter Maisie in the two-volume biography “The Wilfrid Wards and the Transition” and “Insurrection versus Resurrection.”

Ward’s literary works often addressed religious themes, particularly focusing on the conflict between personal desires and Church teachings. Her ability to create “frank” depictions of “very faulty humans” and her emphasis on character development were notable aspects of her writing style. Despite falling into obscurity, her novels have seen a revival of interest in recent years, reflecting her lasting impact on religious and historical fiction.

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  • Horace Blake, by Mrs Wilfried Ward

    “Horace Blake”, by Mrs Wilfried Ward, published by Hutchinson & Co in London. This undated volume spans 320 pages and is bound in red cloth with impressed ornamentation on the front cover and an advertisement for Fry’s breakfast cocoa on the back cover. The spine features gilt ornamentation and lettering, although there is some wear to the cover boards and fading to the spine. Inside the back cover is a pencil signature with a hotel address at the Ritz. The pages have yellowed due to the age of the book, and there are two small drip stains on the back cover. The book is in fair condition.

    The novel is a work of fiction that follows the story of Horace Blake, delving into themes of love, loss, and the human experience. The author’s writing style and attention to detail make this book a valuable addition to any collection.