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Charles Lutwidge Dodgson:

An Inventory of His Collection at the Harry Ransom Center

Creator: Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge, 1832-1898
Title: Charles Lutwidge Dodgson Collection
Dates: 1850-1971
Extent: 4 boxes (1.68 linear feet)
Abstract: The Charles Lutwidge Dodgson Collection embraces manuscripts, sketches and watercolors, correspondence, and scrapbooks representing the career of Dodgson as well as reflections upon and interest in that unique career both during and after his lifetime. The material, largely derived from the collection of Warren Weaver, is arranged in two series: Series I. Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge, 1850-1897, and Series II. Dodgson-Related Materials, 1864-1971.
Language: English
Access:

Open for research




Acquisition:

Purchase, 1969

Processed by:

Bob Taylor, 2009

Repository:

The University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Center


Charles Lutwidge Dodson was born in England at the rectory at Daresbury, Cheshire, to Charles Dodgson, an Anglican clergyman, and his wife Frances Jane Lutwidge on 27 January 1832. In 1851, Dodgson matriculated at Christ Church, Oxford, and in 1855 was appointed to a mathematical lectureship in that college, of which he remained a member for the rest of his life.

A lifelong interest in writing, combined with a predisposition for story telling, word play, and games, led to a unique literary career in which his novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865) achieved an instant and enduring popularity. It was followed in 1872 by a sequel Through the Looking-glass and, in 1874, by The Hunting of the Snark, an extended work in nonsense verse. These and other literary works were published under the pseudonym Lewis Carroll; Dodgson published a number of works in mathematics and logic under his birthname.

With a relatively small body of imaginative work Dodgson managed to coin words and usages and create memorable, if eccentric, characters whose enduring acceptance gained for his oeuvre a level of recognition rivalling the works of Shakespeare and Dickens in the English-speaking world. In addition to his work as an educator and imaginative writer Dodgson pursued an additional career as a notable amateur photographer in the two decades beginning about 1860.

Dodgson died in the home of his sisters at Guilford, Surrey, on 14 January 1898.


Cohen, Morton N. Lewis Carroll, a Biography. New York: Knopf, 1995.

Lennon, Florence Becker. The Life of Lewis Carroll. New York: Dover, 1972.


The Charles Lutwidge Dodgson Collection embraces manuscripts, sketches and watercolors, correspondence, and scrapbooks representing the career of Dodgson as well as reflections upon and interest in that unique career both during and after his lifetime. The material, largely derived from the collection of Warren Weaver, is arranged in two series: Series I. Dodgson, Charles Lutwidge, 1850-1897, and Series II. Dodgson-Related Materials, 1864-1971.

The namesake first series, running to slightly more than one box, consists of two subseries, the first comprising Dodgson's professional and literary works, the second his outgoing letters. Subseries A. Works, 1850-1897, includes puzzles, verse, and sketches created for the amusement of Dodgson's friends, young (mostly) and otherwise, along with problems in logic and mathematics, and proofs for books or periodical articles.

The most important--and the earliest--work present is the author's Rectory magazine of 1850, "a compendium of the best tales, poems, essays, pictures &c that the talents of the Rectory inhabitants can produce." This manuscript was created in the main by Dodgson in his eighteenth year for the amusement of his younger siblings in the Croft rectory where the family had moved from Daresbury in 1843. It is one of four such efforts known to exist today.

Subseries B. Outgoing Letters, 1860-1897, contains a fair representation of Dodgson's extensive correspondence, including letters to family, Oxford colleagues, editors, child friends and their parents, and his Eastbourne landlady, Mrs. Benjamin Dyer.

Most of the correspondents are represented by only a letter or two from Dodgson, but for a few of his child friends and their families, several letters are found in the collection. Concerning the Henderson children Annie and Frances there are ten letters to their mother. Among the six letters to Agnes "Dolly" Argles is one in a microscopic hand signed by "Sylvie." Nine letters addressed to Edith Headland Stevens are present, along with four to her daughter Enid, one of which is typewritten and signed "Lewis Carroll." Individual letters to Janet Merriman and her father Dr. Henry Gordon Merriman are accompanied by six of Dodgson's photographic prints of Dr. Merriman, Janet, and her brother Harry.

The second series, Dodgson-Related Materials, 1864-1971, runs to nearly three boxes and contains Alice in translation, Alice -based artwork, correspondence, scrapbooks, and other materials. These materials largely originated in the extensive collection of Carrolliana assembled by Warren Weaver, a mathematician, computer pioneer, translation theorist, and long-time officer of the Rockefeller Foundation. Nothing contained in this series is directly attributable to Dodgson but virtually all of it was inspired by his life and work in some way.

The group of Alice extracts in various languages along with Anna Grusova's academic thesis on translating English-language children's literature into Czech touch not only upon the career of Dodgson but also upon that of Weaver. Weaver's career as a collector is further documented by a folder of correspondence with various scholars and collectors spanning nearly forty years, and two scrapbooks of clippings and ephemera, and a few more pieces of correspondence.

A number of pieces of original art are present in the series, those by Besché and Hargrave being Alice -themed designs created between 1886 and 1908; the architectural studies by Henry George Liddell date from a generation earlier. Among the third-party correspondence are found six letters from John Tenniel to A. W. Mackenzie written between 1868 and 1899, the last two of which touch upon Dodgson and his (and Tenniel's) most memorable character.

The parenthetical notations in the following container list--e.g. HRC 618--are citations to full bibliographical descriptions found in the Ransom Center's 1985 catalog Lewis Carroll at Texas .


Other Charles Lutwidge Dodgson materials are located at the Ransom Center in the Book and Periodical Collections, the Byron W. and Susan R. Sewell Collection of Lewis Carroll, the Edgar Allan Poe Collection, the Art Collection, the Photography Collection, and the Vertical File Collection. The Book and Periodical Collections have extensive holdings of the printed works of Dodgson, in addition to the major holdings represented by the Sewell and Weaver book collections. The Ransom Center's Lewis Carroll Centenary Exhibition of 1999 is available in an online version at http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/web/carroll .


People

Fison, Frederick W. (Frederick William), 1847-1927

Lennon, Florence Becker

Liddell, Henry George, 1811-1898

Madan, Falconer, 1851-1935

Parrish, Morris Longstreth, 1867-1944

Probert, William Geoffrey Cardawine

Tenniel, John, Sir, 1820-1914

Williams, Sidney Herbert

Subjects

Argles, Agnes Beatrice Jane

Dyer, Benjamin, Mrs.

Henderson, Annie Wood Gray

Stevens, Edith Headland

Places

Great Britain--Intellectual life--19th century Oxford (England) University of Oxford

Document Types

Drawings

Juvenilia

Photographs

Renderings

Scrapbooks