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Margaret Harkness

To commemorate the centenary of the events described in Margaret Harkness' 1921 novel 'A Curate's Promise: a story of three weeks (September 14 – October 5, 1917),' The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre is making a PDF of our copy of the novel freely available. 


General Booth’s scheme will do more than anything else at present towards driving poverty out of England, and advancing the day when Love will become a Religion. -Margaret Harkness



Margaret Harkness (1854-1923) wrote novels and journalism under the nom-de-guerre ‘John Law.’ While not a member of The Salvation Army, three of her novels focus in some detail on the work of the Army. These are A City Girl (1887), Captain Lobe: a story of The Salvation Army (1889, reprinted as In Darkest London in 1891) and A Curate’s Promise (1921)

A City Girl and In Darkest London have both been reprinted recently, but A Curate’s Promise has not been reprinted since 1921. The novel is “a story of three weeks (September 14 – October 5, 1917)” and looks at the work of The Salvation Army in the First World War. Given the relative inaccessibility of the text, recent scholarly interest in the work of Harkness and, finally, the centenary of the novel’s setting, The Salvation Army International Heritage Centre are making accessible here a PDF of the copy of the novel from our reference library:

A Curate's Promise (1921) - full text PDF

Also of interest are Harkness' correspondence with the editor of 'Justice: the organ of the Social Democratic Federation' in March & April 1888  and her article, “Salvation” v. Socialism: in praise of General Booth' from the Pall Mall Gazette, 21 October 1890. Both are available via The Harkives website: