Identifying a real, rather than spiritual, Mrs Zena Vowell has proven difficult, although a Thomasina Vowell is recorded in the 1901 census as visiting 148 Dartmouth Square in Dublin. Thomasina Vowell was visiting with Elizabeth R. Vowell. The head of the household was Gage S. Green, and his wife is noted as Thomasina M. Green. It is likely that Mrs Vowell was therefore visiting her daughter, accompanied by another daughter.
Thomasina Vowell’s birthplace is listed as County Waterford with a date around 1831. In the 1911 census Thomasina Vowell was resident with Elizabeth R. Vowell at 38 Leeson Park in Dublin. Her birthplace is then listed as County Cork, but with the same birth date. Further research suggests that one Tamasine [sic] Vowell died on 31 July 1918 (with Elizabeth R. Vowell as her executrix). She was the widow of William Richards Vowell, an avid anti-Catholic cleric.
This copy of Mosada was last publicly exhibited at Trinity College Dublin in 1956. Peter Harrington offered it for sale over the weekend at the Boston Antiquarian Book Fair, which took place October 27-29, 2023. The book has since been sold at the fair.
“This was the first time we have had the pleasure of offering a first edition of W.B. Yeats’s first book at Peter Harrington – it is exceptionally rare. But more interestingly, perhaps, it is also the very first time we’ve identified a recipient of a presentation copy of a book through an account of a voice from beyond the grave,” said Dr. Philip W. Errington, senior specialist at Peter Harrington.