Papers of Barbara Cartland

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 7BCA
  • Former Reference
      GB 106 7/YY19; 7/YYY19
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      0.25 A box (1 folder)

Scope and Content

The archive consists of a typescript autobiography by Cartland and a pamphlet about her publications. The autobiography describes her work as a campaigner and in local government as well as her work as a romantic novelist. It includes accounts of her work to provide wartime brides with white wedding dresses and her campaigns to enable traveller children to attend school. She also writes about her romances, marriages and social life.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mary Barbara Hamilton Cartland (1901-2000) was born in Edgbaston, West Midlands in 1901 and attended Malvern Girls' College and Abbey House, Netley Abbey, Hampshire. Her father was killed in Flanders in 1918 and the family subsequently moved to London where her mother opened a dress shop in Kensington. Cartland wrote the first of a long series of novels, 'Jig-Saw', at the age of 20 while she was working as gossip columnist for the Daily Express. It was published 1925 and was followed by a play, 'Blood Money'. In 1927 she married Alexander George McCorquodale but was later divorced from him, going on to marry Hugh McCorquodale, a cousin of her first husband, in 1936. During the Second World War, Cartland became Chief Lady Welfare Officer for Bedfordshire (1941-45). She was later a political speaker for the Conservatives, county councillor for Hertfordshire, chair of the St. John Council, deputy president of St. John Ambulance Brigade, and president of Hertfordshire branch of Royal College of Midwives as well as founding the National Association of Health in the 1960s. Cartland was also involved in campaigns for better conditions and salaries for women in nursing and improvements in the status of the elderly. In 1991 she was made Dame of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) and by 1993 had sold over 600 million copies of her books, making her name synonymous with the romantic novel. She was also famous for her love of pink chiffon clothing and small dogs. She died on 21 May 2000, after a short illness.

Access Information

This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.

Other Finding Aids

The Women's Library Catalogue

Custodial History

These papers were given to The Fawcett Library by Dame Barbara Cartland DBE DstJ in May 1999 as part of the 'Contemporary Women' project.

Related Material

Dame Barabara Cartland's correspondence and literary papers are held by the BBC Written Archives Centre.