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Sigerson, Dora (1866–1918)

Sigerson, Dora (1866–1918)

Irish poet and novelist. Name variations: Dora Sigerson Shorter; Mrs. Clement Shorter. Born in Dublin, Ireland, on August 16, 1866; died on January 16, 1918, in Buckinghamshire, England; eldest daughter of George Sigerson (a scholar, surgeon, and writer) and Hester (Varian) Sigerson (a poet and novelist); educated at home; sister of Hester Sigerson Piatt (a writer); married Clement King Shorter (editor of the Illustrated London News), in July 1895.

"Her very absence from Ireland has made her … more Irish than if she had never left it," wrote Douglas Hyde of Dora Sigerson. At the time of her marriage to Clement Shorter, editor of the Illustrated London News, Sigerson moved from her precious Dublin to London where she remained homesick for the rest of her life. During the Easter Rising in Ireland in 1916, she worked tirelessly for her imprisoned compatriots and strained her health in the process.

The daughter of writers, George and Hester Sigerson , Dora grew up more interested in art and sculpting than in poetry. With the encouragement of her two great Catholic friends, Katharine Tynan and Louise Imogen Guiney , Sigerson published Verses (1894), The Fairy Changeling and Other Poems (1897), My Lady's Slipper and Other Poems (1899), Ballads and Poems (1899), The Father Confessor (1900), and The Woman Who Went to Hell and Other Poems (1901). Tynan once wrote that Sigerson looked like the "Greek Hermes: she wore her hair short and it was in masses. She had a beautiful brow, very fine gray eyes, a warm pale color, and vivid red lips." A sculpted memorial of Irish patriots, rendered by Sigerson, stands in the Dublin cemetery where she was brought home to rest.

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