Wednesday, May 11, 2016

G.G. Pendarves (1885-1938)

Née Gladys Gordon Trenery
Aka Marjory E. Lambe
Author, Pianist
Born January 1885, Cornwall, England, or West Derby, Lancashire, England, or Stonycroft, Liverpool, Merseyside, England
Died August 1, 1938, Cheshire, England

Five years ago, I wrote an entry called "Women Writers in Weird Tales" in which I gave some figures from Eric Leif Davin's book Partners in Wonder: Women and the Birth of Science Fiction, 1926-1965 (2006). Among those figures is a list of the most prolific women writers of fiction in the pages of Weird Tales. Third on that list, after Allison V. Harding and Mary Elizabeth Counselman, is G.G. Pendarves. I believe that Allison V. Harding was actually a man, actually the associate editor of Weird Tales, Lamont Buchanan. If that's true, then G.G. Pendarves had the second-most stories in Weird Tales among women. And yet very little to nothing is known of her.

G.G. Pendarves was the nom de plume of Gladys Gordon Trenery. I hesitate to call it a pseudonym as it could easily have been her married name. No one seems to know. No one knows her birthplace, either. According to the Internet Speculative Fiction Database, she was born in Cornwall. An index of births in England and Wales gives a Gladys Gordon Trenery as having been born in Lancashire in January 1885. The 1901 Census has her living in Birkenhead, Cheshire, with a birthplace in Stonycroft, Liverpool. That Gladys Gordon Trenery was sixteen years old at the time and living in a large household that included Grace H. Trenery, age fifty-five, and Elizabeth B. Trenery, age fifty-three. There were Trenerys in Cornwall to be sure. Maybe that was where the family originated before moving to Merseyside or its adjoining counties. It seems safe to assume that either Grace H. or Elizabeth B. Trenery was her mother.

So Gladys G. Trenery was sixteen years old in 1901. The next (and only other) record I have for her is her passing of her examination as a teacher in the playing of pianoforte at the Royal Academy of Music at Christmastime 1907. She would then have been just short of her twenty-third birthday. G.G. Trenery contributed "Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow" to The Horn Book for November 1931. Otherwise, all of her known stories were in Argosy All-Story Magazine, The Magic Carpet Magazine, Oriental Stories, and Weird Tales, all from 1926 to 1939. Her last three stories in "The Unique Magazine" were published posthumously, as Gladys G. Trenery died on August 1, 1938. That sad event is lost among the deaths of Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft from the previous two years. Incredibly, Ramsey Campbell, who was born in Liverpool on January 4, 1946, had a neighbor named Gladys Trenery. She looked after him when his mother was taken to the hospital after cutting her hand on broken glass. You can read about that event in "An Interview with Ramsey Campbell" from July 23, 2013, here. That makes me wonder whether the death date of G.G. Pendarves is correct or if the name Galdys Trenery was really common enough for it to have been given to one teller of weird tales and to the babysitter of another.*

G.G. Pendarves' Stories in Oriental Stories, The Magic Carpet Magazine, and Weird Tales (plus one from Argosy All-Story Magazine)
Note: All are from Weird Tales unless otherwise noted
"The Devil's Graveyard" (Aug. 1926)
"The Return" (Apr. 1927)
"The Power of the Dog" (Aug. 1927)
"The Lord of the Tarn" (Nov. 1927)
"The Eighth Green Man" (Mar. 1928; reprinted Jan. 1937 and May 1952)
"The Ruler of Zem-Zem" in Argosy All-Story Weekly (Apr. 28, 1928)
"The Doomed Treveans" (May 1928)
"The Laughing Thing" (May 1929)
"The Grave at Goonhilly" (Oct. 1930; reprinted Mar. 1954)
"The Footprint" (May 1930)
"The Black Camel" in Oriental Stories (Oct./Nov. 1930)
"The Veiled Leopard" in Oriental Stories (Dec. 1930/Jan. 1931)
"The Secret Trail" in Oriental Stories (Feb./Mar. 1931)
"Thirty Pieces of Silver" in Oriental Stories (Summer 1931)
"El Hamel, the Lost One" in Oriental Stories (Winter 1932)
"From the Dark Halls of Hell" (Jan. 1932)
"The Djinnee of El Sheyb" in Oriental Stories (Spring 1932)
"The Altar of Melek Taos" (Sept. 1932)
"Abd Dhulma, Lord of Fire (Dec. 1933)
"Passport to the Desert" in The Magic Carpet Magazine (Jan. 1934)
"Werewolf of the Sahara" (Aug./Sept. 1936)
"The Dark Star" (Mar. 1937)
"The Whistling Corpse" (July 1937)
"Thing of Darkness" (Aug. 1937; reprinted Nov. 1953)
"The Black Monk" (Oct. 1938)
"The Sin-Eater" (Dec. 1938; reprinted Sept. 1952 and July 1954)
"The Withered Heart (Nov. 1939)

Further Reading
Look for reprints of G.G. Pendarves' stories in various anthologies and reprint editions, including in The Eighth Green Man (and Other Strange Folk) (1989). The title story was one of only five stories reprinted twice in Weird Tales. "The Sin-Eater," also by G.G Pendarves, was another.

*Revision (Oct. 17, 2017): The death date for Gladys Gordon Trenery as given here is in fact correct. I have from R. Alain Everts a document that confirms it. Thanks to RAE.
Text copyright 2016, 2023 Terence E. Hanley


  1. Hey there, Terence! That's an interesting and eerie notion you propose, but I have to say that my childhood neighbour only had the Trenery name because of her marriage to Bob Trenery, whereas the writer we're thinking of had it by birth.

    1. Hi, Ramsey,

      I am very happy to hear from you. The idea that you lived next door to G.G. Pendarves when you were a child has been so strange to contemplate that I have barely had any sleep since I wrote about it. Thank you for clearing this up, and best wishes to you and your family.

      Terence Hanley

  2. Gladys' mother was Elizabeth Blaney (nee Phillips). The Grace H Trenery on the census is the sister of Gladys' father, John.
    The family did indeed originate in Cornwall - Phillack, Hayle to be precise. I note that one of Gladys' stories was "The Grave at Goonhilly" - Goonhilly being an area of moorland in the south of Cornwall, famous today for its satellite dish complex.

  3. Following my last comment, it is possible that Grace H *could* be the mother. Not unheard of for unmarried ladies to be sent away to live with family members to avoid "shame" on the family. Withoutthe birth certificate for Gladys, we can only speculate.

  4. Im guessing there is no photographs of her? She has been my go to author for a while now love her stories.

    1. Hi, Ken,

      I don't know whether or not there are any photographs of her. I suspect there are, but maybe they're hidden away in some backstreet place in England.