1866 - 1947
[2023 update. A new paper on Marna Pease’s life!]
Marna Pease was secretary to the AAF and the Experimental Circle and typed out the Agriculture course, and worked with Carl Meir on translations and assisted in countless ways. She was part of the journey to Tintagel when Dr Steiner lectured in Torquay.
Marna Pease sold Otterburn Castle in 1931 and made her wealth available to support biodynamics.
Her son died in the war in 1916
She was acquainted with Cynthia Chase.
Another background hero to be sure.
IN the Secretary’s letter #4 of September 1946 her upcoming 80th birthday is mentioned:” .. without her warmth of heart, her unfailing enthusiasm, her great knowledge and experience, but not less her never ending readiness to attend to details, be it reading proofs or addressing envelopes or making and dispatching preparations, the Foundation would never have survived the war years without this “devotion to the small things” of which Rudolf Steiner speaks. The ranks of those who received advice and help by visiting The Old Mill House at Bray or by correspondence, go far beyond our membership.”
On her death (31 August 1947) there was a hurried supplement to the secretary’s letter #11.
“ANTHROPOSOPHICAL AGRICULTURAL FOUNDATION
Supplement to Secretary’s Letter No. 11
1868 – 1947
When on the evening of Sunday, 31st August 1947, Marna Pease died, the Foundation lost its President, and many Members lost a dear friend and counsellor. I hope you will allow me to write of her quite personally as one who owes her very much, but also as one who for many years was most closely connected with her in her work.
I met Marna Pease one evening during the World Conference on Spiritual Science and its Practical Applications, held in London in July and August 1928, It was characteristic that she was described to me not so much as Mrs Pease, but as ‘the sister of Mrs Merry! (who had taken so active and prominent part in preparing this Conference). This modesty and reluctance to come into the limelight was typical of her and throughout the following years Mrs Pease rather kept in the background and was most concerned that others should get full credit and that the work as such should not be overshadowed by her personality.
In 1928, Marna Pease stood at a kind of turning point in her life. For years she had been closely associated with occult studies and especially with Anthroposophy. Her husband, Howard Pease, had died not long before and now she was able to devote her full energy to anthroposophical work, and at the time of the World Conference she was not yet aware how important a part she was to play in the development of the anthroposophical agricultural work. She had always been a very keen gardener and was well known in gardening circles for her erudition as much as for her success e.g. in raising certain types of Lilies from seed. With quiet authority she could speak on these matters, and quite in passing she would mention her personal contacts with such people as David Farrar and others.
During the World Conference a small group of friends banded together to see to the implementation of the plan of developing bio-dynamic work in this country. Mrs Pease, from the very beginning, took upon herself a most generous share of the financial obligations. But it did not occur to her at that moment, as she often told me later, that this would lead to her taking any prominent part. She preferred, as I said, working in the background, and the emphasis was always on ‘working’. One of her first practical contributions was the typing of further copies of the Koberwitz Agriculture Course which had just been translated by Mr George Adams. She spent hours and hours at her typewriter, malcing copies which later she would bind so very neatly and carefully.