Men of Letters - A. St. John Adcock

A. St. John Adcock


A. St. John Adcock (1864-1930)

Arthur St. John Adcock was born on 17 January 1864, in London, to parents William and Eliza Adcock. A. St. John was the second oldest child of the six Adcock siblings, which included William, Edward, Samuel, John, Fanny, and Frederick.

Even though A. St. John was most known for discovering the poet W.H. Davies, he started work as a law office clerk in London. He would not being writing full time until 1893.

In 1887, A. St. John married Marion Louisa Taylor. They had two children, daughters Marion St. John Webb (1888-1930) and Almey. Daughter Marion was also a published poet and author. She married amateur actor and playwright Sidney Hastings Webb on 11 May 1912.

When A. St. John, started writing he was also working as an assistant editor for a trade journal part time. He was very persistent when trying to publish his writing and his first published novel was An Unfinished Martyrdom in 1894.

A St. John was also known for being the editor of the magazine, The Bookman from publishers Hodder & Stoughton. The magazine, published monthly, contained reviews, illustrations, and advertising.

In 1920, A. St. John wrote an introduction to a collection of poetry, The Calling of the Sea by good friend William Hope Hodgson. The collection was published after W.H. Hodgson’s passing by the actions of his wife.

Sadly, on 2 May 1930, A. St. John’s daughter Marion passed away in London, and it would be a month later on 9 June 1930, that Arthur St. John Adcock passed away in Richmond Surrey.

In 1974, his daughter Almey gave the Bodleian Library papers of A. St. John; some of the records include correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks, an album from his wife Marion with photographs, and more.

In UPEI’s Provenance collection the book, Men of Letters by Dixon Scott has the inscription Captain Cyrus MacMillan with kind regards from A St. John Adcock 1917 and in Cyrus MacMillan’s writing Editor “Bookman” is written below.


Census Returns of England and Wales, 1881. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1881.

General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office. © Crown copyright. Published by permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Office for National Statistics. You must not copy on, transfer or reproduce records without the prior permission of ONS. Database Copyright © 1998-2003 Graham Hart, Ben Laurie, Camilla von Massenbach and David Mayall.

Census Returns of England and Wales, 1891. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives of the UK (TNA): Public Record Office (PRO), 1891.

Census Returns of England and Wales, 1901. Kew, Surrey, England: The National Archives, 1901. Data imaged from the National Archives, London, England. The National Archives gives no warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or fitness for the purpose of the information provided. Images may be used only for purposes of research, private study or education. Applications for any other use should be made to the National Archives, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU.

Genealogical Society of Utah. British Isles Vital Records Index, 2nd Edition. Salt Lake City, Utah: Intellectual Reserve, copyright 2002. Used by permission.

Principal Probate Registry. Calendar of the Grants of Probate and Letters of Administration made in the Probate Registries of the High Court of Justice in England. London, England © Crown copyright.

Bodleian Library, (2001). Collection Level Description: Papers of (Arthur) St. John Adcock. Retrieved from

Gafford, Sam. (2013). Introduction by A. St. John Adcock. Retrieved from

March of Time Books. (2014). Marion St John (Adcock) Webb. Retrieved from


Benington, Walter. 1920’s. Portrait of Arthur St. John Adcock (1864–1930), English novelist and poet.

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