This week in history, on May 2, 1941, Penelope Delta killed herself in Athens, devastated that the Germans had invaded Greece that very day.
The daughter of wealthy Greek benefactor Emmanuel Benakis, and brother of Antonis Benakis, founder of the Benakis Museum in Athens, Delta was one of the most prolific, if not the earliest, author of children’s books and historical novels for teen readers, including one about her brother’s crazy antics called Trellantonis (Crazy Antonis).
Delta was born in Alexandria, Egypt in 1874, and the family moved to Athens when she was eight. She married Stephanos Delta there and they had three children, but later she carried on an affair with writer Ion Dragoumi, later ending the relationship out of respect for her family. During that course of time, she attempted suicide twice.
The Benakises became close friends with Greek statesman Eleftherios Venizelos, in whose first administration her father served as finance minister.
Diagnosed with polio in 1925, she suffered from paralysis until her death.
In addition to Trellantonis, some of her other famous books include: Yia tin Patrida (For the Country), Mangas (which means “cool” or “studly” – which she wrote about the family terrier), and Paramythi Horis Onoma (A Tale with No Name).