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Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron (Lady Byron) correspondence

Call Number: MS 107


A collection of letters, primarily between Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron, also known as Lady Byron (1792-1860), widow of the poet, and George MacDonald (1824-1905), the author, her protégé, written shortly before her death.


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1856-1925 ( 1856-1859)


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron

Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron, 11th Baroness Wentworth and Baroness Byron, known for her work as a philanthropist and as the wife of poet Lord Byron (1788-1824), was born on May 17, 1792 in Durham. She was the daughter of Sir Ralph Milbanke (afterward Noel), sixth baronet, and Judith Noel.

Lady Byron met George Gordon Noel Byron, sixth Baron Byron in London in 1812, and the couple married in 1815 after a three-year courtship following Lady Byron's initial rejection of Lord Byron's proposal. Lady Byron became pregnant shortly after their marriage, and toward the end of her pregnancy, she became worried about Lord Byron's mental state, feeling he was a danger both to her and to himself. She returned with her newborn baby, Ada, to her mother's home in Leicestershire, leaving Lord Byron in London. The couple separated in 1816 and never saw each other again.

Following Ada's premature death at the age of 36 in 1852, Lady Byron turned her attention to philanthropy, particularly relating to education and women's rights. She established the Ealing Grove School, a trade school, and aided Mary Carpenter in establishing a reformatory for girls. Lady Byron died on May 16, 1860 in London and is buried in Kensal Green Cemetery.

[Information retrieved from Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.]

Biography of George MacDonald

George MacDonald (1824-1905) was a Scottish poet, novelist, and minister. He was known as one of the first fantasy fiction authors of works for both children and adults, publishing Phantastes: A Faerie Romance for Men and Women (1858), The Princess and the Goblin (1872), and At the Back of the North Wind (1871), amongst other works. MacDonald died in Surrey in 1905.

[Information retrieved from Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.]


0.25 Linear Feet (1 document case)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This collection of Lady Byron's correspondence includes a series of letters between Lady Byron and George MacDonald between 1857 and 1859, including MacDonald's poem "The Gospel Women" and his photograph. Also included in the collection is a letter from the son of mathematician Augustus De Morgan, as well as letters from Greville MacDonald, George MacDonald's son, offering Mr. Child, likely Harold Harryngton Child, the collection of letters in 1925.

At the end of the collection are two letters from Lady Byron to other individuals, identified as W. Brown and Mr. Taylor.

Physical Location

MS 107

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Driscoll, December 1955; second purchase using Rose Morgan Fund, source unknown, before 1960.


Some phrases from these letters are quoted in Mayne, Ethel Coburn. The Life and Letters of Anne Isabella Lady Noel Byron, from Unpublished Papers in the Possession of the Late Ralph, Earl of Lovelace. New York: C. Scribner's Sons, 1929 [available at KU Libraries at PR4382 .M35 1929a]. In the preface the author thanks Harold Child for letting her use his notes for an abandoned Life of Byron.

Processing Information

Two letters now at MS 107:F formerly located at MS P57.

Guide to the Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron (Lady Byron) Collection
Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron (Lady Byron) correspondence
Finding aid prepared by alh, 1971. Finding aid encoded by vej, 2019.
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Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
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Preferred citation
Anne Isabella Milbanke Byron (Lady Byron) correspondence, MS 107, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States