Partner Margaret Mynatt, Betty Lewis
170 Tulse Hill, Thurlow Park, London SW2 3BU, UK
Yvonne Helene Kapp (née Mayer) (17 April 1903 – 22 June 1999) was a British writer and political activist. Kapp also wrote under the name Yvonne Cloud. In 1989 Yvonne Kapp, at eighty-six, began and completed her autobiography, Time Will Tell. Her lesbianism is attributed no signiﬁcance. We learn that, approaching ninety, to her ʻastonishmentʼ, she still has both ʻthe satisfactions of work [and] the miraculous and surpassing happiness of loveʼ. But a veil covers her intimacy with Margaret Mynatt, her lover, comrade and collaborator for over forty years (up to her death in 1977), as well as her falling in love again, late in life, with another woman comrade, Betty Lewis. Quite at odds with the feminist sensibility of the 1970s and after, Kapp never identiﬁed as a lesbian.
Yvonne Hélène Mayer was born on 17 April 1903 at 170 Tulse Hill, London, into a Jewish immigrant family, daughter of Max Alfred Mayer (1871–1948) and his wife Clarisse Fanny Bielefeld (1878–1960). She started work with a brief stint on the Evening Standard and moved on to the Sunday Times. She joined the Communist Party of Great Britain and visited the USSR. She worked on behalf of Jewish and Basque refugees. She was married to Edmund Kapp from 1922 to 1930.
Yvonne scratched out a living by writing articles, "anything that came into one's head" she admitted. In 1927 a recommendation from Rebecca West led to a job at Paris Vogue and financial security at a time when her marriage was dissolving. By now, her husband's artistic independence meant that Kapp was effectively a single mother, having given birth to a daughter, Janna, in 1924.
In 1938 she was co-author, with Margaret Mynatt, of British Policy and the Refugees, not published until 1968. From 1941 to 1947 worked for the Amalgamated Engineering Union as a research officer. Subsequently she worked for the Medical Research Council, and later as a translator, and writing her magnum opus, a life of Eleanor Marx.
In later years she was not as mobile as she would have liked, but friends and associates would pay court to her at her house in Highgate, which she shared for 23 years with her great friend Betty Lewis.
She died on 22 June 1999.
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