by George J. Dance

Florence Wheeler Ayscough

Florence Wheeler Ayscough (1875-1942). Courtesy Simon Fraser University.

Florence Wheeler Ayscough (January 21, 1875 - April 24, 1942) was a Canadian poet and translator.[1]


Ayscough was born Florence Wheeler in Shanghai, the daughter of Edith Haswell (Clarke) of Massachusetts, and Thomas Reed Wheelock (?1842-1920) of Annapolis, Nova Scotia.[1]

She spent her first 9 years in China,[1] and then attended Mrs. Quincy Shaw's School in Brookline, Massachusetts.[2] At school she met and befriended American poet Amy Lowell.[1]

After completing school, she returned to China, where she met and married English merchant and sinologist Francis Ayscough (1859-1933),[1] circa 1895.[2]

Ayscough and Lowell collaborated on a book of translations of Chinese poetry, Fir-Flower Tablets, published in 1921, with Ayscough supplying literal translations from the Mandarin for Lowell to turn into finished poems.[1]

The Ayscoughs moved to Canada in 1923, settling in Saint Andrews, New Brunswick. Francis Ayscough died in 1933.

In 1935, Florence Ayscough married another sinologist, Harley Farnsworth McNair (1891-1947), who became professor of Chinese history at the University of Chicago. Beginning in 1938 Ayscough also began lecturing at the University of Chicago, on Chinese literature.[1]

Ayscough died in Chicago in 1942. She is buried in Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, near the grave of E.E. Cummings.[3]


Acadia University awarded Ayscough an honorary D.Litt. in 1927.[1]




  • Firecracker Land: Pictures of the Chinese world for younger readers. Boston & New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1932.



  • Florence Ayscough and Amy Lowell: Correspondence of a friendship (edited by Harley Farnsworth MacNair). Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1945.
The Lonely Wife - Florence Ayscough (Amy Lowell)

The Lonely Wife - Florence Ayscough (Amy Lowell)

Except where noted, bibliographical information courtesy WorldCat.[4]

See alsoEdit



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Ayscough, Florence Wheelock, Canada's Early Women Writers, Simon Fraser University. Web, July 11, 2015.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ayscough, Florence, Women in World History: A biographical encyclopedia, Web, July 11, 2015.
  3. Florence Wheelock Ayscough, Find a Grave, October 23, 2010. Web, Mar. 14, 2019.
  4. Search results = au:Florence Ayscough, WorldCat, OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc. Web, July 12, 2015.

External linksEdit

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