Bettina Riddle von Hutten

Bettina Riddle (February 14, 1874 – January 26, 1957), also known as Betsey Riddle, and later as Baroness von Hutten, was an American-born novelist, specializing in historical fiction. As an American in England during World War I, she was arrested and fined as an enemy alien, because she had a German ex-husband.

Early life and family

Elizabeth Riddle was born in Erie, Pennsylvania,[1] the daughter of John Simms Riddle, a lawyer and state legislator, and Kate Howard Riddle.[2] Her grandfather was Congressman William Alanson Howard, and her brother was a medical writer, Hugh Howard Riddle. Bettina's grandmother Mary Dickinson Riddle was a cousin of artist Mary Cassatt.[3][4] Among her uncles were ambassadors Thomas A. Scott and Thomas J. O'Brien.[5]

[6] She called herself "Pam" for a time, after her most popular character, and kept a pet monkey like the fictional Pam.[7] In 1910 she tried acting.[8]

Personal life

She married Friedrich Karl August, the Baron von Hutten zum Stolzenberg, in 1897, in Florence. They had two children, Karl (1898-1971) and Katharina (1902-1975). They divorced "by mutual consent" in 1909,[9] amidst rumors of her infatuation with Italian tenor Francesco Guardabassi.[5][7]

She soon had two more children with actor Henry Ainley, actor Richard Ainley (1910-1967) and Henrietta Riddle (b. 1913). Henrietta was briefly engaged to Alistair Cooke in 1932.[10]

Bettina von Hutten lived in England but wintered in Rome.[11] During World War I she lived under travel restrictions as an "enemy alien" in England, because of her German ex-husband. She was arrested and fined for breaking these restrictions.[12] In 1921 she was badly injured in a car accident near Danzig; in 1925, she was in bankruptcy.[13][14] She regained her American citizenship in 1938, and lived in California during World War II.[15] She converted to Roman Catholicism late in life,[16] and died in 1957, in London, aged 83 years.[15]

Her granddaughter Katrine von Hutten (1944-2013) was a German writer and translator.


Novels by Betsey Riddle include:

  • Miss Carmichael's Conscience (1898)
  • Marr'd in Making (1900)
  • Our Lady of the Beeches (1902)
  • Violett (1904)
  • Araby (1904)
  • Pam (1905)
  • Pam Decides (1906)
  • What Became of Pam (1906)
  • The One Way Out (1906)
  • He and Hecuba (1906)
  • Kingsmead, a Novel (1909)
  • The Halo (1911)
  • Beechy: or, The Lordship of Love (1909)
  • The Green Patch (1911)
  • Sharrow (1912)
  • Maria (1914)
  • Helping Hersey (1914)
  • Bird's Fountain (1915)
  • Mag Pye (1917)
  • The Bag of Saffron (1918)
  • Happy House (1919)
  • Mother-in-Law (1922)
  • Mice for Amusement: A Novel (1934)
  • Lives of a Woman (1935, adapted for the stage as There Was an Old Woman in 1938)
  • Die She Must (1936)
  • Youth Without Glory (1938)
  • What Happened is This (1939).


  • Julia
  • Candy, and Other Stories
  • Flies
  • Eddy and Édouard
  • The Curate's Egg.


  1. John Huston Finley and William Peterson, ed., Nelson's Perpetual Loose-Leaf Encyclopedia (Thomas Nelson 1920): 460.
  2. "The Baroness Bettina von Hutten" The Bookseller, Newsdealer, and Stationer (January 1, 1916): 15.
  3. "Lady at the Tea Table" (1883).
  4. Mary Cassatt: A Life (Yale University Press 1994): 165. ISBN 9780300164886
  5. "Baron Divorces American Wife" Oregon Daily Journal (May 8, 1909): 1. via
  6. "Online Books by Betsey Riddle Hutten zum Stolzenberg", Online Books page.
  7. "'Pam', Author of 'Pam', has been Divorced" St. Louis Post-Dispatch (May 8, 1909): 3. via
  8. "Authoress of 'Pam' in Debut on Amateur Stage" Los Angeles Times (January 16, 1910): 112. via
  9. "Travel Split Von Huttens" New York Times (May 23, 1909): C1.
  10. Nick Clarke, Alistair Cooke: A Biography (Arcade Publishing 1999): 54. ISBN 9781628720167
  11. "Literary Baroness in Rome" Washington Post (March 13, 1910): 8. via
  12. "Baroness von Hutten Fined" Feilding Star (September 26, 1916): 2.
  13. "Baroness von Hutten Hurt in Runaway" New York Times (October 15, 1921).
  14. "Order Against Baroness von Hutten" New York Times (November 11, 1925): 2.
  15. "Baroness von Hutten; Novelist Dies in London at 83--Wrote 'Pam' Stories" New York Times (January 29, 1957): 31.
  16. Rosa Ainley, 2 Ennerdale Drive: Unauthorized Biography (John Hunt Publishing 2011): 109-113. ISBN 9781846945601
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