Sir Edward Howard Marsh (
November 18, 1872– January 13, 1953), born to Professor Howard Marsh of Downing College, Cambridge, was a British polymath, translator, arts patron and civil servant. He was the sponsor of the Georgian school of poets and a friend to many individuals, including Rupert Brookeand Siegfried Sassoon. In his career as a civil servant he worked as Private Secretary to a succession of Great Britain's most powerful ministers, particularly Winston Churchill.
Career as a Civil Servant
In 1896 he was appointed Assistant Private Secretary to
Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary. When Chamberlain resigned in in 1903, Marsh became private secretary to his successor, Alfred Lyttelton. When Winston Churchillbecame Under-Secretary of State for the Coloniesin 1905 during Henry Campbell-Bannerman's first Government, Marsh became Churchill's Private Secretary, beginning an association and friendship that would last through Marsh's death. Marsh would be Churchill's Private Secretary for the next ten years, until Churchill left the Government in 1915. As Randolph Churchill put it, from December 1905, "Marsh was to accompany Churchill to every Government department he occupied: to the Board of Trade, the Home Office, the Admiralty, the Duchy of Lancaster, the Ministry of Munitions, the War Office, back to his original Colonial Officeand the Treasury." [Churchill, Randolph. "Winston S. Churchill: Young Statesman 1901-1914". (c) 1967 C&T Publications, Ltd.: p. 110] These moves were somewhat irregular as Marsh remained, until 1937, officially a clerk at the Colonial Office, but many exceptions were made, possibly at cost to Marsh's official advancement.
When Churchill left government for the first time in 1915, Marsh became Assistant Private Secretary to Prime Minister
Henry Asquith, in which position he would serve until the fall of Asquith's government in December, 1916. When Churchill returned to government as Minister of Munitions in 1916, Marsh joined him there as Private Secretary and worked in that position, through successive departments, until the fall of David Lloyd George's Coalition Government in 1922 when Marsh returned to the Colonial Office. When Churchill became Chancellor of the Exchequerin 1924, Marsh joined him there as Private Secretary and remained at the Treasury until the fall of Stanley Baldwin's second government in 1929 when Marsh was returned to work at the Colonial Office. He would serve as Private Secretary to every Secretary of State for the Colonies from 1929 until his retirement in 1937.
A classical scholar and translator, Marsh edited five anthologies of "Georgian Poetry" between 1912 and 1922, and he became Brooke's
literary executor, editing his "Collected Poems" in 1918. He was also a consistent collector and supporter of the works of the avant-garde artists Mark Gertler, Duncan Grant, David Bombergand Paul Nash, all of whom were also associated with the Bloomsbury Group. In addition to his work editing Churchill's writing while the latter was in or out of government, Marsh introduced Siegfried Sassoon to Churchill as a means of aiding the former's career. He was also a close friend of Ivor Novello. In 1939, he produced "A Number of People", a memoir of his life and times containing his memories of those writers and politicians with whom he had associated.
* [http://libus.csd.mu.edu/record=b1765375 Elizabeth Whitcomb Houghton Collection] , containing letters by Marsh
* "Eddie Marsh — Sketches for a Composite Literary Portrait" (1953)
* "Edward Marsh" by
* Gilbert, Martin."Winston S. Churchill: The Challenge of War 1914-1916".(c) 1971 C&T Publications, Ltd.
* Gilbert, Martin."Winston S. Churchill: The Stricken World 1916-1922".(c) 1975 C&T Publications, Ltd., "etc."
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