Naomi Jacob (1885-1964)
Naomi Jacob was a popular novelist, broadcaster and actress. She was born in Ripon in 1885. Her father was Headmaster of what is now Ripon Grammar School and her mother was also a teacher there. Her grandfather Robert Ellington Collinson was a Mayor of the town and owner of the Unicorn Hotel.
Naomi had a difficult upbringing. Her parents divorced and, in order to finish her schooling, she went to live in Middlesbrough. She also taught as a student teacher there.
She left the teaching profession to become an actress in review. It was around the same time that she contracted tuberculosis, a condition that was to affect her for the rest of her life. With physical activity becoming more difficult, Naomi Jacob channelled her creative efforts into writing. As well as a number of novels such as the Gollantz Saga and An Irish Boy, Naomi wrote non-fiction, biographies and newspaper columns.
Because of her strong links to the theatre, she was a well-known figure. Known by her friends as Micky, she had a strong circle of friends including Marguerite Broadfoote, Radclyffe Hall, Little Titch, Marie Lloyd and many others. She was also active politically, standing as a Labour candidate and becoming involved with the Women's Suffrage movement.
Micky moved to Lake Garda in 1930 for the sake of her health, but. during the war she returned to the UK to help in the war effort. She worked for Entertainments National Service Association (ENSA) producing morale-boosting broadcasts and live performances for the troops. She never gave up her home in Italy and returned soon afterwards. She died in 1964.