Kipling-Dunsterville Papers

Scope and Content

Draft article on Kipling by Dunsterville; c. 1927


Letters from Rudyard Kipling to L. C. Dunsterville (9 items, 1886-1928) and 2 other items; 1886-1928

Letters from Dunsterville to Kipling, his wife and his daughter (5 items); 1919-1943

Letters from other correspondents to Dunsterville (25 items); 1883-1943

Typescripts of two articles by Kipling; 1899, 1900


Photographs, mainly of United Services College

Presscuttings and ms. notes on Stalky &Co.

Copy wills of Kipling and his wife.

Administrative / Biographical History

Lionel Charles Dunsterville (1865-1946) was a contemporary and close friend of Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), the author, at the United Services College, Westward Ho! in Devon. Kipling was a pupil in 1878-82; they met again in India. Kipling's collection of stories, Stalky & Co (1899) relates chiefly to himself, his school friends, the College and Stalky. Dunsterville was the model for Stalky.

Dunsterville entered the Army, served in Waziristan, on the North-West Frontier, in China and, during World War I, in Turkey, and rose to the rank of major-general. He valued his life-long association with Kipling, his old school friend, and over the years amassed a collection of letters and documents relating to his school days and his school friendships. In retirement he exploited his wartime escapades and his place in literary history, publishing The adventures of Dunsterforce (1920), And obey (1925), Stalky's reminiscences (1928), More yarns (1931) and talky settles down (1932). The relevant chapters of Stalky's reminiscences , at least, he sent in draft to Kipling and Beresford (SxMs 69/2/7).

Dunsterville was a joint founder and first President of the Kipling Society, inaugurated on 4 February 1927. In an article in the first issue of the Kipling Journal, March 1927, entitled 'Kipling's Schooldays', he wrote I have never met anyone who revealed future greatness so clearly as did Kipling. At the age of twelve his literary future was already in flower. Merely to say that he was deeply read would be inadequate. He had already moved off the main road of academic reading into curious and learned bypaths of letters... .

The collection complements the other Kipling archives held by the University of Sussex and relates richly and felicitiously to the papers, acquired in 1998, of George Charles Beresford, the model of McTurk (SxMs 69). These two collections provide a unique and authoritative picture of Kipling's schooldays and the friends who shared them. They also throw intimate light on how the writer was regarded by his school companions as the years passed.

Access Information

Items in the collection may be consulted for the purpose of private study and personal research, within the controlled environment and restrictions of The Keep's Reading Rooms.

Acquisition Information

Sotheby's, London, December 1996. Bought by the University of Sussex with the help of the Heritage Memorial Fund and an anonymous donor.


Prepared by John Farrant, July 2002.

Other Finding Aids

An online catalogue is available on The Keep's website .

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents,digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections, in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.

The National Trust is the owner of the copyright in the works of the Kipling family.

Custodial History

Lionel Dunsterville sold many of the letters he had received from Kipling to Mrs Elsie Bambridge, Kipling's daughter, in 1943 (now in SxMs 38/14/51-52) but he found himself unable to part with several items he held dear. These comprise the present collection which was sold at Sotheby s, London, in December 1996.

Related Material

This collection supplements the main collection of the papers of Rudyard Kipling, his parents, his wife and his daughter, which accumulated at Wimpole Hall, near Cambridge and which are deposited at the University of Sussex as SxMs 38, Kipling Papers - Wimpole Archive. The record for that collection includes a list of all the supplementary collections. In particular it complements the papers of George Charles Beresford, the model of McTurk in Stalky & Co. (SxMs 69).