The collection compromises background material for a book on May Morris written by Elizabeth Masterman, titled May Morris: some notes for book collectors, published in 1984 by Book Collector, London. The archive consists of notes, filed alphabetically, covering personalities and subjects referred to in the book, correspondence, a copy of an illustrated catalogue of embroidery designs, a copy of William Morris material in the collection of H Buxton Forman, in possession of the Hammersmith Public Library, a hand list of documents and manuscripts of William Morris and papers and a manuscript text of a lecture about May Morris given by E Masterman at Royal College of Arlon in 1883. Includes details of the Arts and Crafts movement.
Papers of May Morris
Scope and Content
Administrative / Biographical History
May Morris (1862-1938) was born on the 25 Mar 1862, christened Mary, and was the younger of William and Jane Morriss two daughters. Both she and her sister Jenny were accomplished embroiderers - taught by their mother and by their aunt, Bessie Burden - and in 1885 May took over the direction of Morris & Co.s embroidery department. She also actively assisted her father in promoting the cause of Socialism in the 1880s and 90s. At the turn of the century she taught embroidery at the Central School of Arts & Crafts in London and at Birminghams Municipal School of Art, becoming a leading figure in the (mainly male-dominated) Arts & Crafts Movement. Morris was an accomplished Embroiderer, jeweller, and fabric designer; she was also the first President of Women's Guild of Art (founded 1907). Her Introductions to The Collected Works of William Morris, 24 volumes edited by her and published between 1910 and 1915, contain many illuminating details of Morriss career and his family life.
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is available for research. Readers are advised to contact The Women's Library in advance of their first visit.
The collection was deposited by Elizabeth Masterman as a gift on 30 Sep 1981
Other Finding Aids
Fawcett Library Catalogue c.1980.
Location of Originals
William Morris material is in the H Buxton Forman Collection, held by Hammersmith & Fulham Public Library