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Identity statement

Reference code(s)
GB0100 KCLCA K/PP121
MEYNELL, Alice Christiana Gertrude (1847-1922)
Level of description
Collection (fonds)
Extent and medium of the unit of description (quantity, bulk, or size)
1 file


Name of creator(s)

MEYNELL, Alice Christiana Gertrude, 1847-1922, née Thompson, poet and essayist

Administrative / Biographical history

Alice Christiana Gertrude Meynell was born in Barnes, Surrey in October 1847; Alice and her sister, Elizabeth Thompson, later Elizabeth Southerden Butler, Lady Butler (1846-1933) were educated by their father, Thomas James Thompson ([1809]-1881); Alice took instruction and was received into the Roman Catholic church, St George's, Worcester, 1868.

Meynell's first published work was Preludes , 1875 which received much praise, notably from Alfred Tennyson, Coventry Patmore, Aubrey de Vere, and John Ruskin. Meynell married Wilfrid John Meynell (1852-1948) on 16 April 1877. Once married both worked as journalists, editing the Weekly Register and Merry England , 1883 to 1895; Alice regularly wrote literary criticisms for Spectator , The Tablet , the Saturday Review , The World , and the Scots Observer .

Meynell's first volume of essays, The Rhythm of Life , published in 1893, consisted mainly of work reprinted from periodicals. At this time Meynell also wrote a weekly column in the Pall Mall Gazette , 1893. Whilst working as a journalist and during early motherhood Meynell ceased to write poetry, however later she returned to poetry, being mentioned as a possible candidate for Poet Laureate in 1895. From this time until her death she wrote some of her finest work, including poetry about World War One. Meynell was a supporter of the suffrage movement and women's rights, which was reflected in her later work. Meynell died 27 November 1922.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

Transferred from the King's College London library.

Content & structure

Scope and content

Papers of Alice Christiana Gertrude Meynell, 1875-1878 and 1941, comprise a book and correspondence; namely a copy of Meynell's book Preludes that she gave as a gift to the poet Robert Browning (1812-1889), in which Browning has inscribed his name and a note reading 'from the author', dated 7th June 1878.

The correspondence section comprises a letter from Browning to Meynell thanking her for giving him a copy of the book and praising the beauty of many of its poems, 1878; a letter from Wilfrid Meynell to Albert Arthur Cock (1883-1953) apologising for being unable to accept an invitation to attend some lectures and making reference to 'hundreds of German planes on their way to London and other large countries', 1941. The letters within the collection had previously been enclosed within the book which was gifted by Cock to King's College London.

System of arrangement

The correspondence was originally fastened within the book and has now been separated; the collection therefore is divided into correspondence and the book.

The correspondence was originally fastened within a copy of the book Preludes by Meynell and has now been separated.

Conditions of access & use

Conditions governing access

Open, subject to signature of Reader's undertaking form, and appropriate provision of two forms of identification, to include one photographic ID.

Conditions governing reproduction

Copies, subject to the condition of the original, may be provided for research use only. Requests to publish original material should be submitted to the Director of Archives and Information Management, King's College London.

Language/scripts of material


Finding aids

No additional finding aids exist.

Allied materials

Existence and location of originals

King's College London College Archives

Related units of description

Collections relating to Alice Christiana Gertrude Meynell may also be found within Boston College Libraries (NUC MS 60-248), West Sussex Record Office (see Location register of 20th Century English Literary MSS 1988), Cambridge University Fitzwilliam Museum (within the Blunt Papers), British Library, Manuscript Collections (Add MSS 73238 ff.190-202; 73455 A f.60, Add MS 52736 and Add MSS 44458-526 passim ), Senate House Library (MS 810) and University of Texas at Austin, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center Library (NRA 23022).

Description control

Archivist's Note

Compiled by Samantha Velumyl.

Rules or conventions

Compiled in compliance with General International Standard Archival Description, ISAD(G), second edition, 2000; National Council on Archives Rules for the Construction of Personal Place and Corporate Names 1997.

This catalogue is made available under the Open Data Commons Attribution License. This catalogue may be updated from time to time in order to reflect additional material and/or new understandings of the material.

Date(s) of descriptions

January 2008

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  • Authors
  • Literary forms and genres
  • Literature
  • Poetry
  • Poets
  • Writers

Personal names

  • Browning, Robert, 1812-1889, Poet
  • Cock, Albert Arthur, 1883-1953, Lecturer
  • Meynell, Alice Christiana, 1847-1922, née Thompson, Poet and Journalist
  • Meynell, Wilfrid John, 1852-1948, Journalist

Corporate names

  • King's College London College Archives

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