Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Frieda Lawrence:

An Inventory of Her Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center

Creator Lawrence, Frieda, 1879-1956
Title Frieda Lawrence Collection
Dates: 1870-1969
Extent 9 boxes (3.75 linear feet), 1 galley folder, 4 oversize folders
Abstract: This collection includes diaries, essays, and drafts of Not I, But the Wind, and Frieda Lawrence, the Memoirs and Correspondence, as well as correspondence. Much of the correspondence is of a personal nature, but some has to do with copyrights and royalties from husband D.H. Lawrence's works.
RLIN Record # TXRC98-A6
Languages English, and German.
Access

Open for research




Acquisition

Purchases and gifts, 1957-1990 (R2792, R4244, R4806, R4933, R6625, R7016, R6625, R6627, G8503, G5045)

Processed by

Chelsea Jones, 1998

Repository:

Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, University of Texas at Austin


Born Emma Maria Frieda Johanna Baroness (Freiin) von Richthofen, Frieda Lawrence (1879-1956) was the second of three daughters born to Prussian Baron Friedrich von Richthofen and Anna Marquier von Richthofen. The family lived in a rural suburb of Metz, an area recently conquered in the Franco-Prussian War and subjected to a regime of forced Germanization. Frieda attended a local Roman Catholic convent school but found few friends among the French population. Her social world was composed of her sisters, with whom she alternately competed for parental attention and allied herself with in order to manipulate their parents, the family servants in whose care the girls were generally left, and Prussian soldiers whom she met while playing in the trenches left over from the war.

In July of 1898 Anna von Richthofen took Frieda and her younger sister on their annual summer visit to Freiburg, in the Black Forest. It was here that Frieda met Ernest Weekley, a language scholar and lecturer at University College, Nottingham. Overwhelmed by Frieda's looks and natural intelligence, he quickly made an offer of marriage, which she accepted. They were wed on August 29, 1899, and the couple settled in Nottingham, England, where Weekley continued his teaching and Frieda endeavored to fit into the working class neighborhood. Their first child, Charles Montague, was born in June of 1900, followed by Elsa Agnes Frieda in September 1902, and Barbara Joy in October 1904.

Between 1902 and 1912, Frieda had a series of affairs, including one with Otto Gross in 1907. In 1912 she met David Herbert Lawrence, then a student of her husband, and within a few months they eloped. They traveled first to Metz and then spent the summer traveling through the Alps and into Italy. In 1913 they returned to England where Frieda attempted to see her children, but was prevented by Weekley who filed for a divorce. The divorce was made final in May of 1914 and it was not until the late 1920s that she was able to freely communicate with her children again. Frieda and D. H. Lawrence were married in a private ceremony in July 1914.

For the next several years they traveled almost constantly in France, Italy, and Germany, staying with friends, or in borrowed housing, borrowing money when they needed to. Prevented from leaving England during World War I, they stayed in remote towns where they were harassed by police and ostracized by the local citizens because of her nationality and his burgeoning reputation as a pornographic writer. After the war they traveled mostly in Italy between 1919 and 1921.

In 1922 they sailed for America via Ceylon, Australia, and Tahiti. They reached San Francisco in September 1922 and traveled on to Taos, New Mexico, at the invitation of Mable Dodge Luhan. They spent the winter there before moving on to Mexico in the spring of 1923. Later that year they returned to Europe to visit Frieda's children and ailing mother. In 1924 they revisited the American Southwest for the last time before D.H. Lawrence's death. In 1930 D.H. Lawrence died near Vence, Italy, of tuberculosis and was buried nearby. Shortly after his death, Frieda returned to England in an attempt to sort out his estate, and then traveled between Italy and Germany for the rest of the year. In 1931 she returned to Taos in the company of Angelo Ravagli.

Frieda purchased land in Taos and built a ranch which Ravagli managed. In 1934 Not I, but the Wind, Frieda's memoir of life with D.H. Lawrence, was published. Kiowa ranch became a summer home when Frieda acquired a winter home in El Prado, Mexico. During World War II, Frieda and Ravagli, subjected to suspicion and harassment in America, stayed in Mexico. In 1950 Frieda married Ravagli. The union was largely a matter of convenience to protect his immigrant status, as their relationship had become more of a business partnership than romance. Frieda made a final visit to England in 1952 to visit her children and meet her grandchildren.

Frieda Lawrence died of a stroke, early in the morning on her birthday, August 11, 1956. Her autobiography, "And the Fullness Thereof," which she had been slowly pulling together over several years, was published posthumously in 1964 as Frieda Lawrence, the Memoirs and Correspondence.


A Genius for Living: The Life of Frieda Lawrence. Janet Byrne. (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1995).


Manuscripts, correspondence, letters between her husbands and her mother, guest books, and telegrams of condolence on her death, make up the Frieda Lawrence Collection, 1870-1969. The collection is organized into four series, with materials arranged alphabetically by title or author: I. Works, 1936-1955 (4 boxes), II. Letters, 1890-1956 (1.25 boxes), III. Recipient, 1907-1956 (1.5 boxes), and IV. Miscellaneous, 1870-1969 (2.25 boxes). This collection was previously accessible through a card catalog, but has been re-cataloged as part of a retrospective conversion project.

The Works series contains drafts of Lawrence's book, Not I, But the Wind (1934) and portions of "And the Fullness Thereof," which was published in 1964 as Frieda Lawrence, the Memoirs and Correspondence. Also included are a series of numbered notebooks and a diary in which Lawrence recorded her thoughts and philosophies throughout her life, as well as articles and essays, some about her life with D.H. Lawrence. An Index of Works, arranged alphabetically by title, is located at the end of this guide.

While there is some business correspondence having to do with the copyrights and royalties from D.H. Lawrence's works, and the legal battles that occurred regarding his estate, the Letters and Recipient series consist mostly of Lawrence's personal letters to and from friends and family. Of note are the letters between Lawrence and Richard Aldington, Barbara Barr, Dorothy Brett, Witter Bynner, Otto Gross, Enid Hilton, Else Jaffe-Richthofen, Knud and Else Merrild, Mabel Dodge Luhan, John Murry, Angelo Ravagli, Anna von Richthofen, and Tennessee Williams. An Index of Correspondents, arranged alphabetically by name, is located at the end of this guide.

The Miscellaneous series is mostly composed of letters to and from people other than Lawrence, including several from D.H. Lawrence and Ernest Weekley to Anna von Richthofen. Letters in this series are included in the Index of Correspondents. Also included are manuscripts by other authors including a few by D.H. Lawrence, Irving Ravetch's screenplay of Sons and Lovers, Elise Aylen's play based on The Plumed Serpent, and part of M.E. Ross's A D.H. Lawrence Anthology. Additionally, there are guest and address books, Lawrence's social security card, three passports, and a large collection of letters and postcards, written in German, from Baron Podewils to Anna von Richthofen spanning 1886-1912.

Elsewhere in the Ransom Center is a small collection of newspaper clippings including a few articles written by Lawrence, family information, and comments on her biography of D.H. Lawrence (13 Vertical File folders). Also, located in the Literary Files of the Photography Collection, there are a large number of photographs of Lawrence. They are interfiled with the D.H. Lawrence photographs. The Ransom Center also holds a large D.H. Lawrence Collection.


Correspondents

Aldington, Richard, 1892-1962.

Asquith, Cynthia, Lady, 1887-1960.

Barr, Barbara Weekley.

Brett, Dorothy, 1883-1977.

Bynner, Witter, 1881-1968.

Gross, Otto, 1877-1920.

Hilton, Enid Hopkins, 1895- .

Huxley, Aldous, 1894-1963.

Jaffe-Richthofen, Else, 1874- .

Lawrence, D.H. (David Herbert), 1885-1930.

Luhan, Mabel Dodge, 1879-1962.

Merrild, Else.

Merrild, Knud, 1894- .

Miller, Henry, 1891-1980.

Murry, John Middleton, 1889-1957.

Ravagli, Angelo Nunzio Gaspero.

Richthofen, Anna baronin von, 1851-1931.

Rogers, Millicent A.

Weekley, Ernest, 1865-1954.

Williams, Tennessee, 1911-1983.

Subjects

Authors, English--20th Century--Marriage.

Authors' spouses.

Authors, English--20th Century--Biography.

von Richthofen family.

Women authors.

Places

Taos (N.M.)--Intellectual life.

Document types

Address books.

Autobiographies.

Guest registers.

Journals.

Legal documents.

Photographs.