Iris Origo

(1902 - 1988)

Born in London in 1902 to a wealthy American merchant and the daughter of a baron, Iris Origo was raised in a Tuscan villa originally built for Giovanni de’ Medici. She began writing biographies in the 1930s after the death of her son. During World War II, she and her husband sheltered refugee children, Allied prisoners of war, and Italian Jews. After meeting Origo, Virginia Woolf described her as “tremulous, nervous—very—stammers a bit, but honest eyed; very blue-eyed. She’s very clean and picks her feet up.”

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