Planting the Seeds: Selections from the H.D. Chronology
by Louis Silverstein
Copyright Louis Silverstein. This article originally appeared in The H.D. Newsletter,
vol. 2, no. 2 (Winter 1988), p. 4-14 and is reproduced here with the kind permission of
Louis Silverstein. Please note that the full, previously unpublished version of the H.D. Chronology is now available online.
The H.D. Chronology is a "work in progress" compiled by Louis H.
with the assistance, contribution, and encouragement of numerous H.D. scholars.
Additional comments, corrections, and contributions will be greatly
appreciated. With regard to the publication of these particular selections, the compiler
would like to express his heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to those who have
criticized and encouraged his attempts in this endeavor: namely, Dale Davis, Eileen
Gregory, Donna Hollenberg, Monty Montee, and Caroline Zilboorg. In addition, he
expresses thanks to Tom Nevin for his assistance with the identification of some of
the places mentioned in the two sections on Greece.
The entries in this selection have been edited and do not reflect the full range of
data being included in the actual chronology. Those entries which are printed in
upper case indicate the location and lodging of H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle
Doolittle during certain blocks of time.
[Most of the data in this section come from one source: H.D.'s unpublished and untitled
autobiographical notes, a document which she apparently prepared for Norman Holmes Pearson.
Unless otherwise noted all information is from this source except for additional or more specific
which have been ascertained from standard reference tools and travel guides.]
1920 February 7. H.D., Bryher, and Havelock Ellis (1) leave London on the
Borodino;(2) Marguerite Tracy comes on
board to see them off with a cake;(3) Peter
Rodeck on board ship as well.(4)
1920 February 8. H.D. and Bryher are off or at the Isle of Wight.
1920 February 9. H.D. and Bryher are off the coast of Portugal.
1920 February 27(?)--April 30(?). "Hippolytus Temporizes" (poem)
1920 February 27. H.D. and Bryher arrive at Piraeus;(6) H.D.
sees the Acropolis.
1920 FEBRUARY 28(?)--MARCH 24(?). H.D. AND BRYHER IN ATHENS AT
HOTEL GRAND BRETAGNE.
1920 February 28. They visit the Acropolis and the British School.
1920 February 29. They go to the Museum.(7)
1920 March 1. They visit the stadium, Ilissos,(8) and the Theatre.(9)
1920 March 2. They go to Kaisariani(10) and walk up the slopes
of Mount Hymettos.
1920 March 3. They go to Kolonos (11) and Lycabettos.
1920 March 4. They explore the streets of Athens.
1920 March 5. They go to the Tower of the Winds, Thesion
(i.e. Theseum?), and Eleusis.(12)
1920 March 7. They go to Lycabettos.
1920 March 8. They go to the Acropolis.
1920 March 9. They go to the Theatre of Dionysus.
1920 March 10. They go to Kallirhoe (?) and the Theatre of Dionysus.
1920 March 11. They go to the Acropolis.
1920 March 12. They have tea with Miss Palmer.(13)
1920 March 13. They go to Lycabettos.
1920 March 24. H.D. and Bryher go to Piraeus,(14) Salamis,(15)
Corinth, and Patras.(16)
1920 March 25. H.D. and Bryher go to Astakos, Mytikos, Kalamos, Santa Maria,
1920 March 26. H.D. and Bryher go to Parga(18) and Corfu.
1920 MARCH 26/27--APRIL. H.D. AND BRYHER IN CORFU AT THE
ANGLETERRE ET BELLE VENISE for approximately 5 weeks. It is here that H.D.
has her "writing-on-the-wall" experience.(19)
1920 March 27. They walk towards Kanoni(20) which has a view of the two
small islands of Pontikonisi ("Mouse Island").
1920 March 28. They go to Pelleka.
1920 March 29. They walk among olive groves.
1920 March 30. They drive around Potomo.
1920 March 31. They go to Palaiokastritsa.(21)
1920 April 29 or 30. H.D. and Bryher leave Corfu, possibly on the S.S.
Arcadia, then stay overnight at the Hotel Europe, Brindisi, Italy.
1920 May 1. H.D. and Bryher take the train to Rome; they stay at the Grand
[Most of the data in this section come from two sources: H.D.'s unpublished and untitled
autobiographical notes; and Norman Holmes Pearson's unpublished notes, which were possibly
from journals or date books kept by Bryher (the original journals or date books had not been
located as of July 31, 1988). (A note of caution is needed for the use of the latter source in this
following section: except where Helen Wolle Doolittle is noted as doing something separately, it
to be certain exactly who was doing what--the entries probably refer to both H.D. and
Bryher. However, the compiler is of the opinion that these notes are a valuable source and
incorporated in order to give a sense of what was happening. It is also obvious that H.D. drew
on these journals when she compiled her own autobiographical notes.) Unless otherwise noted
is from these sources except for additional or more specific details which have been ascertained
from standard reference tools and travel guides.]
1922 FEBRUARY (END?)--MARCH 10. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN
WOLLE DOOLITTLE IN VENICE AT THE DANIELI.
1922 March 10. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle leave Venice at 6:30
p.m. on the
S.S. Leopolis, a ship from the Lloyd Triestio line; they steam out slowly by St.
Mark's and the Lido to sea.
1922 March 11. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle at sea; they are in view
of land from about 3
1922 March 12. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle at sea; they arrive at Bari
10:30 a.m. and Brindisi in the afternoon; they walk ashore.
1922 March 13. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle land at Corfu at 6:00
a.m. and drive
towards Canone (viewing almond flowers, cherry, a few roses, many violets, iris, oranges and
anemones); they return to the boat about 10:00 a.m.; the boat leaves Corfu about 12:00 noon
and sails past Paxos and Antipaxos, passing Parga about 2:30-3:00 p.m., then Ithaca at 6:00 p.m.
1922 March 14. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle land at Piraeus and leave
the boat at 10:30
a.m.; they take a cab to the Monastiriki Station; they go to Athens, see the Acropolis and the
Museum, lunch at the Hotel Grand Bretagne; they return by car to Piraeus about 5:00 p.m. and
reboard the boat; they meet the Schollenbergers.(22)
1922 March 15. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle sail along the Asia Minor
Tenedos, Limnos, viewing the plain of Troy over the hills, the Dardanelles and the Hellespont;
they also pass Imbros.
1922 MARCH 16-18. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE DOOLITTLE IN
AT THE PERA PALACE HOTEL.
1922 March 16. They go to the museum (Efkat?), see wonderful Sidonian remains,
Meridan with three columns, the remains of the Hippodrome, the burnt column, and the great
1922 March 17. They go past Bazaret mosque to a mosque with Byzantine
mosaics; they view the
remains of Constantine's palace, the great walls, and Marciam's column.
1922 March 18. They view column (?), the Bath of Theodora, the Resevoii, the
small Saint Sophia,
and bazaars; in the afternoon they board the Celio.
1922 March 19. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle sail past Tenedos, Mount
Ida?, Mytilene (on
the Island of Lesbos)(23) and Skiros.
1922 March 20. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle arrive back at Athens;
they have difficulty
finding rooms but end up at the Hotel Grande Bretagne; they devote the afternoon to errands.
1922 MARCH 20-APRIL 3. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE
DOOLITTLE IN ATHENS
AT THE HOTEL GRANDE BRETAGNE.
1922 March 21. They visit the Acropolis and walk past the Theatre of Dionysus.
1922 March 22. They go to the Museum.
1922 March 23. They go to the Station and gardens and walk in the evening.
1922 March 24. They make side trip to Eleusis, walk around towards Stadium.
1922 March 25. They go to the Theatre of Dionysus, to a garden, to shops, and
1922 March 26. They make a side trip to Cape Sunion (24) about which Bryher comments that it is like
Cornwall,(25) with many flowers; they have a
perilous trip back then walk in gardens.(26)
1922 March 29. They go to the British School.
1922 March 30. They walk in the city.
1922 March 31. They go to the British School; Helen Wolle Doolittle gives H.D.
flowers with heather
wrapped around the stems in honor of Perdita's third birthday.
1922 April 1. They take care of passports; they talk with the Schollenbergers.
1922 April 2. They go to the Acropolis; they walk in the afternoon and observe the
sunset on Lycabettos.
1922 April 3. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle leave Athens by boat
(S.S. Leopolis?); they sail
through the Corinth Canal, view Corinth and Parnassos from the boat.
1922 April 4. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle stop at Corfu; they drive
1922 April 5. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle at sea;
they pass the Lissa Islands (?).
1922 April 6. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle arrive in Venice.
1922 APRIL 6-13(?). H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE DOOLITTLE IN
AT THE DANIELE.
[Most of the data in this section come from one source: Norman Holmes Pearson's unpublished
which were possibly transcribed from journals or date books kept by Bryher. Unless otherwise
all information is from these sources except for additional or more specific details which have
ascertained from standard reference tools and travel guides. Data which comes from H.D.'s
autobiographical notes will be henceforth footnoted and referred to as AN.]
[See the map of Egypt originally published with the article--Ed.]
1923 January 18. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle leave Florence for
Rome; they have a
comfortable journey with tea on the train; they stay at the Hotel Continental.
1923 January 19. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle go for a cold drive on
Pincio and see
winter roses; they eat at the Hotel then leave Rome for Naples.
1923 JANUARY 20-22. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE DOOLITTLE IN
1923 January 20. They walk in the afternoon and have tea at Miss Middleton's tea
1923 January 21. They go to the museum and the aquarium.
1923 January 22. They walk in the morning; they board the S.S.
4:00 p.m., sailing at 5:00 p.m.
1923 January 23. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle at sea;
they reach the Straits of Messina at dawn; they have a calm voyage.
1923 January 24. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle at sea.
1923 JANUARY 25-31. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE DOOLITTLE IN
1923 January 25. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle land at
Alexandria around 11:00 a.m.; they go through customs then leave on a train for Cairo around
3:00 p.m.; they pass camels,
mud huts, palms, natives; they have lunch around 4:00 p.m. and arrive in Cairo around 6:00 p.m.
[Map of Egypt on p.9 not reproduced here.]
1923 January 26. They drive to the Pyramids; they see the Sphinx and lunch at
1923 January 27. They go to the Museum, Hatorius (?) in the afternoon; they attend
1923 January 28. They go to the old mosque, Coptic churches, the Island of Rodah,
the Citadel, and
1923 January 29. They walk in gardens and go to the zoo.
1923 January 30. They go to the Mosque of Sultan Hassan, to another mosque, to
bazaars; in the
afternoon they go to the Hatorin (?), to bazaars, etc.
1923 January 31. They shop then leave in the evening at 7:30 p.m. for Luxor.
1923 FEBRUARY 1-7. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE DOOLITTLE IN
THE LUXOR HOTEL.
1923 February 1. H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle Doolittle arrive in Luxor
at 9:00 a.m.; they first go to the Winter Palace Hotel which they find to be crowded and noisy;
then they move to the Luxor
Hotel; they sleep in the afternoon, then walk and see Karnak by moonlight.
1923 February 2. They sail in a boat across the Nile to the West Bank then drive
in a sand cart to the tombs in the Valley of the Kings; they view the new entrance to
Tutankhamun's tomb, then
they visit the tomb of Amenhotep II with its mummy and wall paintings; then they return to
the new tomb (Tutankhamun's) where they watch a guarded stretcher bearing a small chariot
wheel being carried out by natives; later they see another stretcher brought out bearing horns
and small objects; (28) they then take the easier path
over the hill to the Cook's Rest House for
lunch; later they visit the Temple at Deir al Bahri, join and expedition to Punt (?) and H(----),
drive back by the Colossi of Memnon, and sail back across the Nile to Luxor; they see Karnak
by moonlight and climb up the pylon.
1923 February 3. They shop and walk and go to the Temple of Luxor.
1923 February 4. They go to Karnak where they see the Hoopocs (?) then walk in
1923 February 5. They walk and shop.
1923 February 6. They walk and make arrangements to sail on the S.S.
they visit shops and go to the Winter Palace Hotel for tea.
1923 February 7. They walk and have tea at the Winter Palace Hotel then board the
1923 FEBRUARY 7-12. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE DOOLITTLE
ON THE S.S. ROSETTA,
CRUISING ON THE NILE.
1923 February 8. At 10:30 a.m. they reach Esna where they walk up a sandy slope,
passing by water
carriers and basket vendors, and visit the Temple of Esna; in the afternoon they have a hot walk
of about a half hour in order to visit the Temple of Edfu.
1923 February 9. They visit the Temple of Sobek and Horus at Kom Ombo in the
they reach Aswan about 3:00 p.m. and have tea at the Cataract Hotel.
1923 February 10. They take a motor launch through two locks to a barrage (?);
then they go across
in a trolley and take a rowboat (manned by four rowers with a boy to steer) to visit the
submerged island of Philae (water is at its highest level); they return to Aswan by trolley and
launch then have lunch at the Cataract Hotel.
1923 February 11. Still at Aswan, they drive by the unfinished obelisk and
the first of the Northern Quarries and Bishareen (?) camps, returning through bazaars and shops;
they have tea at the
Cataract Hotel and sail back to the S.S. Rosetta in the dark.
1923 February 12. They experience a sand storm; they resume the journey at a
quick pace, pass Esna, and land at Luxor about 5:00 p.m.
1923 FEBRUARY 12-16. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE DOOLITTLE
AT THE LUXOR HOTEL.
1923 February 13. They walk and visit the Temple of Luxor then have tea
at the Winter Palace Hotel.
1923 February 14. They go to Karnak and visit the Temple of Ptah, then walk and
have tea at the Winter Palace Hotel.
1923 February 15. They walk in the gardens of the Winter Palace Hotel and see
and shop in the surrounding area, purchasing a cat,(29) fly whisks, a giant scarab, and a
key of life; Helen Wolle Doolittle visits mission (?).
1923 February 16. They walk and shop; in the evening they board the train to Cairo
and hear the
news that the sealed inner chamber of Tutankhamun's tomb is to be opened the next day. The
opening of the tomb later becomes subject of a short story by H.D. entitled "Hesperia."(30)
1923 FEBRUARY 17-22. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE DOOLITTLE
CAIRO AT SHEPHEARD'S HOTEL.
1923 February 17. They arrive in Cairo about 9:30 a.m.(31)
1923 February 18. They go to the Egyptian Museum and concentrate on the
lower rooms and on the early dynasties.
1923 February 19. They go to the Egyptian Museum then to Lizieri (?) for tea.
1923 February 20. They spend the afternoon on errands and in making
to return to Naples via the S.S. Umbria; Helen Wolle Doolittle goes to the
1923 February 21. They shop at Ahmed Suleiman (Khan el Khahli), Hatsun's
(Muski Street), and
1923 February 22. They depart for Alexandria at 9:00 a.m. and reach the S.S.
2:30 p.m.; H.D. and Helen Wolle Doolittle go for a drive in Alexandria.
1923 FEBRUARY 22-27. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE DOOLITTLE
ON BOARD THE S.S. UMBRIA.
1923 February 23. They sail from Alexandria early on a very rough and stormy
1923 February 26. They reach the Straits of Messina and the Calabrian coast at
1923 February 27. They have a difficult landing at Naples.
1923 FEBRUARY 27-March 2. H.D., BRYHER, AND HELEN WOLLE
NAPLES AT THE EXCELSIOR.(32)
1923 February 28. They go to the aquarium.
1923 March 1. They walk and pack.
1923 MARCH 2-APRIL (MID). H.D. ON CAPRI (BRYHER JOINS HER ON
MARCH 4); THEY
STAY AT THE HOTEL QUISISSIMA FOR THREE WEEKS THEN MOVE TO THE
FOR THREE MORE WEEKS.(33)
1923 March 2. H.D. departs Naples for Capri.
1923 March 3. Helen Wolle Doolittle leaves for Florence from Naples.
1923 March 4. Bryher joins H.D. on Capri.
1923 March 5. Norman Douglas arrives on Capri and Bryher meets him at the
1923 March 6. Bryher has dinner with Norman Douglas that night (he is
"wildly gloriously drunk").(35)
1923 March (?). Nancy Cunard arrives on Capri; Bryher and Norman Douglas meet
her at a cafe.(36)
1923 March 9. H.D. writes to Marianne Moore from the Hotel Quisissima,
1923 March 31. Perdita is brought to join them for her fourth birthday by H.D.'s
Laura Wolle Jenkins.(38)
1. Havelock Ellis apparently remained with H.D. and
Bryher in Athens through March, staying in a
modest pension while they "were comfortably ensconced in the most luxurious hotel." Then he
decided to return to England, supposedly because H.D. and Bryher could not make up their
they were going to leave (Phyllis Grosskurth, Havelock Ellis: a Biography [New
A.A. Knopf, 1980] 296-97).
2. This was a supply ship operated by the Junior Army
and Navy Stores during World War I; among
the volumes from H.D.'s library at the Beinecke Library is a book describing this venture:
Allen, S.S. "Borodino" M.F.A. No. 6: a Short Account of the Work of
the Junior Army and Navy Stores, Ltd. With H.M. Grand Fleet, December 1914-February
(London: Fleetway Press for the Junior Army and Navy Stores, [1919?]).
3. Marguerite Tracy was a friend of Havelock Ellis.
See Grosskurth 296.
4. Susan Stanford Friedman, "Hilda Doolittle (H.D.),"
Literary Biography (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1986) 45: 128.
5. H.D. by Delia Alton [Notes on Recent
Writing]. Iowa Review 16.3 (Fall 1986): 221.
6. Nine kilometers from Athens.
7. Probably the National Archaeological Museum.
8. The stream which runs in the south of Athens near
9. Either the Theatre of Dionysus or the Theatre of
10. A monastery church, seven kilometers southeast
of Athens, situated on the slopes of Mount Hymettos.
11. The quarter of Athens east of the Academy.
12. Twenty-two and a half kilometers from Athens.
13. Unidentified as of August 2, 1988.
14. The port of Athens.
15. The largest island in the Saronic Gulf.
16. It is possible that H.D. and Bryher may have
taken some sort of cruise on this and the following
two days en route to Corfu (possibly on the S.S. Helene) or that they were
visiting places, trying to
decide where to settle for the next stage of their trip.
17. A town situated at the entrance to the Ambracian
18. A coastal town on the mainland south of Corfu.
19. H.D. by Delia Alton [Notes on Recent
Writing]. Iowa Review 16.3 (Fall 1986): 198.
20. Four kilometers from the city of Kérkyra.
21. The location of a monastery.
23. Friedman (DLB 129) states that
they stopped briefly at Lesbos; her source might
be the apocryphal tale told by Francis Wolle (in A Moravian Heritage [Boulder,
Reproduction Printing Company, 1972] 58), which indicates that they had planned to stay there
for a week (as the boat
supposedly only docked there once a week) but that in less than an hour H.D. became so
by actually being on Sappho's island that she insisted on leaving immediately. Wolle claims that
did stay overnight on the island and that H.D. found a native who was willing to provide
for them to the mainland the next morning. The sequence outlined in Bryher's notes
indicates that it is highly unlikely that they made an overnight stop on Lesbos.
24. Sixty-eight kilometers southeast of Athens.
25. Bryher's comment is found in the missing
journals transcribed by Pearson.
26. H.D.'s autobiographical notes date this side trip
as March 25; however, Pearson's transcribed
notes from the missing journals kept by Bryher date it as March 26.
27. The fact that they stayed at Shepheard's Hotel is
28. On the previous day the lion and Typhon
couches had been brought out from the tomb. Once
these large items had been removed, smaller objects were brought out almost hourly and the
these discoveries spread rapidly to the tour guides in the hotels of Luxor so that hundreds of
jammed the area. For an account which describes these events, including the dismantling and
out of various chariots, and which conveys a sense of what H.D., Bryher, and Helen Wolle
must have been experiencing, see Thomas Hoving, Tutankhamun: the Untold
Story (New York: Simon
and Schuster, 1978) 182-85.
29. This is probably the turquoise-blue cat described
by Perdita Schaffner in "The Egyptian Cat,"
Hedylus by H.D. Redding Ridge, Conn.: Black Swan Books, 1980. 142-46.
30. In her unpublished memoir, "Thorn Thicket"
(1960), H.D. refers to "Hesperia" (1925),
also unpublished, as being set in Egypt at the opening of the tomb.
31. It was on this date that the wall to the burial
chamber of King Tutankhamun's tomb was pulled
down. See Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, Life and Death of a Pharoah:
(Greenwich, Conn.: New York Graphic Society, 1963) 68.
32. The fact that they stayed at the Excelsior comes
33. Information relating to H.D.'s lodging on Capri
is from AN.
34. Pearson's transcribed notes end with the arrival
of Norman Douglas; Bryher mentions meeting
Douglas in Heart to Artemis (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1962)
Mark Holloway refers to is in his Norman Douglas: a Biography
(London: Secker Warburg, 1976) 313-15.
35. Bryher 232-33.
36. Holloway 313-15.
37. H.D.'s letters to Marianne Moore, presently
unpublished, are at the Rosenbach
Foundation in Philadelphia.
38. This information is from AN.
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