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Katherine Mansfield Papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Mansfield

Scope and Content of the Collection

The collection consists mainly of manuscript copies of some of Mansfield's most important work, and outgoing correspondence, the bulk to artist Dorothy Brett and Lady Ottoline Morrell. There are a few incoming miscellaneous letters, printed works, photographs and memorabilia. An appendix to the collection contains its original folders and envelopes, together with a card file index.


  • Creation: 1903-1942



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The Katherine Mansfield Papers are open for research; they are available five folders at a time in the Special Collections Reading Room (Priority II).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The Katherine Mansfield Papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Literary rights, including copyright, may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns.

Biography of Katherine Mansfield

British short story writer and critic.

Katherine Mansfield was born Kathleen Mansfield Beauchamp in Wellington, New Zealand in 1888. She went to London to be educated at Queen's College from 1903 to 1906, and then returned to New Zealand to study the cello for two years. In 1908 she returned to England, having chosen to be a writer rather than a musician, and there she lived the rest of her life except for sojourns to Germany, Switzerland and France where she would go seeking recovery from persistent poor health.

Mansfield's personal life was unsteady and dramatic. In 1909 she left an unconsummated marriage to a singer named George Bowden after a day, and later in that year delivered a stillborn child. In 1911 she met English critic John Middleton Murry with whom she lived, on and off, until they finally married in 1918. Their relationship was both productive and frustrating; Murry was a difficult man and yet he did much to further Mansfield's literary development and success. He was the editor of Rhythm and Blue Review, periodicals that published some of Mansfield's early stories, and later he was editor of the Athenaeum to which she contributed both stories and book reviews. The Murrys had a wide circle of creative friends such as Frieda and D.H. Lawrence and Leonard and Virginia Woolf, but Mansfield also had a number of life-long devoted unmarried women friends including the artist Dorothy Brett and college friend Ida Baker (called L.M. by Mansfield). In 1916, she met and was entertained by the eccentric literary and artistic patron Lady Ottoline Morrell, with whom subsequently she had a lively correspondence.

Mansfield's earliest collection of stories is entitled In a German Pension (1911), but probably her best-known collections are Bliss and Other Stories (1920) and The Garden-Party and Other Stories (1922). The year after the publication of the latter, she died from tuberculosis at the age of 34.

Katherine Mansfield is recognized as an experimental and original writer. Her stories, varied as they are from short, sharp sketches to long, impressionistic evocations of time, place and character, have won her a lasting literary reputation.


3.8 Linear Feet (9 boxes)


Correspondence, works and miscellaneous material relating to Katherine Mansfield, British short story writer and critic.


The papers are organized in the following series

Series 1: Manuscript Works, 1903-1922
Boxes 1-2
Series 2: Printed Works, Photographs and Memorabilia, 1906-1922
Box 3
Series 3: Correspondence, 1909-1942
Boxes 4-7
2 boxes

Collection Stack Location

VAULT 40 8


Gift of Jane Warner Dick, 1959.

Processed by

S. Caroleen Browne, 1975; Virginia H. Smith, 2000

Inventory of the Katherine Mansfield Papers, 1903-1942
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States