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Benares House Gallery
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Photograph - “Mazo de la Roche”
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Title: Photograph - “Mazo de la Roche”
Identifier: 2007.1.70
Donor: Barbara Sayers Larson
Item Date: 1926
Creation Date: 2012
Location: Benares Historic House

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Description: The black and white photo has angled corners and shows Mazo de la Roche standing in the foreground wearing a front pleated skirt and blouse with scarf at the neck. She is holding a parasol of Japanese-type design. In the background are trees and the vague outline of a roof and support post perhaps a porch. On the back of the photo is written in ink a message wishing the recipient a happy birthday from Mazo de la Roche and Caro(line) her cousin. It reads: "Many happy returns of your birthday. With much love from Mazo and Caro. June 1926" There are also two blank ink smudges.

Mazo Louise Roche was born in Newmarket in 1879. She was the only child of Alberta and William Roche. In 1927, her novel "Jalna" published under the name Mazo de la Roche won the $10,000 first prize in a competition sponsored by Atlantic Monthly, this win led to the publishing of a series of novels about the Whiteoak family of Jalna. The Jalna series was exceedingly popular, selling thousands of copies, with "Jalna" being turned into a movie and a television series. Mazo lived in Trail Cottage, which was located on property that had originally belonged to the Benares Estate. Mazo was friends with the Harrises and had visited Benares on several occasions. It has been speculated that the Benares House was Mazo's inspiration for the "Whiteoaks of Jalna". Mazo died on 12 July 1961. See: C.J. Taylor, 'de la Roche, Mazo' "Canadian Encyclopedia, 2000 Edition" (Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1999), 639
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