May Lamberton Becker
May Lamberton Becker (August 26, 1873 – April 27, 1958) was a journalist and literary critic. She was born in New York and at the age of 20 she married the pianist and composer Gustave A. Becker in 1893. Their only daughter Beatrice was born September 20, 1900. By 1908 the marriage had broken up and later ended in divorce. She died at her daughter's house, in Epsom, Surrey, England, in April 1958, aged 84.
May Lamberton Becker made her name as a literary critic and for more than forty years wrote a weekly 'Readers Guide', first with the New York Evening Post, then with the Saturday Review of Literature and finally in the weekly book section of the New York Herald Tribune, of which she later became literary editor. She was well known as a lecturer on literature and drama. She wrote a number of introductions for the Rainbow Classics series of children's books and after the move of her daughter to England in 1927 she was a frequent visitor and wrote a number of 'Letters from London' for her newspaper. At the end of her life was an occasional contributor to The Times Literary Supplement.
She was very pro-Britain, at a time when America and most Americans were neutral at the start of the Second World War. Her American royalties from Introducing Charles Dickens (written in the first year of the War) paid for the 'Charles Dickens' ambulance for use in London, and her British royalties were spent on welfare projects there.
She was an active participant in Books Across the Sea of which her daughter was chairman. This was founded in 1942 to import specimen copies of new books from America and export British ones, at a time when the commercial traffic of new books had stopped because of lack of shipping space.
In May 1960 T. S. Eliot dedicated the reading room of the National Book League, Albemarle Street, London, to her memory,"in gratitude for her inspiration and friendly guidance". The work was funded and furnished by British and American friends and admirers, (though the principal donor was her daughter).