Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Smith, H.W. mss., 1817-1987, consist primarily of letters of Hannah (Whitall) Smith, 1832-1911, her two daughters Mary (Smith) Berenson, 1864-1945, and Alys Whitall Pearsall (Smith) Russell, 1867-1951, and Mary's two daughters Ray (Costelloe) Strachey, 1887-1940, and Karin (Costelloe) Stephen, 1889-1953. Hannah and her husband Robert settled in the Quaker community of Germantown, Pennsylvania after their marriage in 1851. Hannah began preaching and writing on religious subjects, and later became involved in the temperance and suffrage movements. When Mary married an English barrister in 1888, the family moved to England where Hannah continued her work. It was there that Alys married philosopher Bertrand Russell. Alys joined her mother in working for women's rights and had a keen interest in political issues. Meanwhile Mary's marriage to Frank Costelloe failed soon after the birth of their second daughter Karin. Mary left England to tour the museums and cathedrals of Europe with her future husband, art critic Bernard Berenson. Mary's daughters Ray and Karin stayed in England with their father and thrived under the influence of their grandmother Hannah. Ray became the third generation of "Whitall" women to devote her life to women's issues, while Karin became a pioneer in Freudian psychoanalysis and one of Britain's first psychoanalysts. The circle of friends and relatives broadened further when Ray married into the Strachey family and Karin wed Virginia Woolf's brother Adrian Stephen.

The correspondence is mostly among these five women, but included is correspondence with other members of the Smith family, extended relations and friends both in the U.S. and Europe. Correspondents include: Nancy Witcher (Langhorne) Astor, viscountess Astor; John Lloyd Balderston; Clive Bell; Bernard Berenson; Henry Louis Bergson; Richard Maurice Bucke; Jonathan Cape; Edgar Algernon Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, viscount Cecil; Kenneth McKenzie Clark, baron Clark; Cyril Vernon Connolly; Frank Costelloe; Dame Kathleen D'Olier Courtney; Dame Millicent (Garrett) Fawcett; Michael Field; Edward Morgan Forster; Charles Lang Freer; Roger Eliot Fry; Isabella (Stewart) Gardner; Barbara (Strachey) Halpern; Jane Ellen Harrison; John Waller Hills; John Maynard Keynes, baron Keynes; Henry Lamb; Hermann Obrist; Ralph Barton Perry; Marion Phillips; Corinne (Roosevelt) Robinson; Bertrand Russell, 3rd earl Russell; George Santayana; Geoffrey Scott; John Jay Smith; Logan Pearsall Smith; Robert Pearsall Smith; Lady Isabella Caroline (Somers-Cocks) Somerset; Adrian Stephen; Alix Strachey; Christopher Strachey; Giles Lytton Strachey; Oliver Strachey; Edith (Carpenter) Thomas; M. Carey Thomas; Robert Calverley Trevelyan; Beatrice (Potter) Webb, baroness Passfield; Walt Whitman; Albert Basil Orme Wilberforce; Frances Elizabeth Caroline Willard; and Virginia (Stephen) Woolf.

The collection also contains: diaries, notes, and transcripts of letters, writings, clippings, scrapbooks, and photographs.

A guide to the collection is available. A finding aid is also available.

Collection size: 30,500 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.