Today would be Leonard Woolf’s 136th birthday. Take a look at these entries from Virginia’s published diaries, made on his birthday from 1921 through 1940. Then scroll down for photos of a commemoration to Leonard at Great Elm.
Friday 25 November 1921:
“L’s 41st birthday; & he has just caught a mouse in his hands. . . L. has been dismissed & taken on in another capacity by the same post; & now, this afternoon, he has ben sketching a plan to Green, who is strnded, by whih she may become our secretary. The Hogarth Press, you see, begins to outtgrow its parents.” – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. II, P. 144.
Sunday 25 November 1928:
“Leonard’s 48th birthday. We were at Rodmell, where all has fallen into our hands, rapidly, unexpectedly: on top of the field we et a cottage, & Percy [Bartholemew] is ‘ourman’. – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. III, P. 207.
Monday 25 November 1929:
“I merely add idly (ought I not to be correcting To the Lighthouse) that the difficulties with Nelly are to avoid an apology. She has weakened, & is now all out to catch us weakening. She wished L. many happy returns this morning.. . . I broadcast; & poured my rage hot as lava over Vita. She appeared innocent–I mean of telling H[ilda] M[atheson]. that I could easily cut my Brummel to bits. . . And then in a hurry to Rodmell, where the roof is on, & the floor stretched with planks. The bedroom will be a lovely wonderful room what I’ve always hoped for. – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. III, P. 267.
Saturday 25 November 1933:
“L’s birthday. Off to see the Sickerts with a view to writing; see his letter. Dear me. This comes however after a lull: I mean they’re sitting in Kensington Gds & I want a breath before I go on to Kitty’s Party” – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. IV, P. 190.
Wednesday 25 November 1936:
“L’s birthday. Lunch with Clive. The Princess, a waxy solid handsome lady with kind eyes. Not formidable. Ros. eddy Ld Berners. Talk all very brilliant. The usual sense of having done with that when it was half over. And the different changes of light. The intimacy. Then the superficiality. Very cold. An eyeless grey day The same subjects recur. Sybil. Ld. B’s jokes, the same. Ros. muffled & tentative. I, rather too erratic. The P[rincess]. out of things. And I must lunch with her & Ethel tomorrow.” – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. V, P. 36-7.
Friday 25 November 1938:
“Li’s birthday — 58? But I open this, to note, at the foot of the last pessimistic page, in 2 minutes, the fact that pessimism can be routed by getting into the flow: creative writing. . . A fine cold day: L’s birthday.” – The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Vol. V, P. 189.
Great Elm and Leonard Woolf
The village of Great Elm is the site of the rectory where Leonard Woolf often stayed with his university friend Leopold Campbell Douglas and his wife. It is also the site from which he set out to propose marriage to Virginia Stephen.
So when volunteers began fundraising to join Great Elm to the cycle route to Bath, they bought a brick to commemmorate his connection to the village. This has now been incorporated into an ornamental flight of steps beside the route.