The Papers of Ivy Compton-Burnett

Scope and Content

The papers comprise drafts of two of Ivy Compton-Burnett's novels, translations of poems by Margaret Jourdain, correspondence, press cuttings, broadcasts about ICB's work, diaries and a few photographs.

Administrative / Biographical History

Ivy Compton-Burnett (1884-1969) was born in Pinner, Middlesex. She was educated privately, then at Holloway College, where she studied Classics. She wrote her first novel, 'Dolores', in 1911, and a further 19 novels throughout her lifetime. The last of these, 'The Last and the First', was published posthumously in 1971. She shared a flat with author and furniture historian Margaret Jourdain from 1918 until Jourdain's death in 1951.

For further biographical information the reader is directed to the following published works:

- Spurling, Hilary: 'Ivy When Young, the early life of I. Compton-Burnett 1884-1919', London: Allison and Busby, 1974

- Spurling, Hilary: 'Secrets of a Woman's Heart, the later life of I. Compton-Burnett, 1920-1969', London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1984

- Dick, Kay: 'Ivy and Stevie (Ivy Compton-Burnett and Stevie Smith), conversations and reflections', London: Allison and Busby, 1971

Conditions Governing Access

These papers are available for consultation at King's College, Cambridge, four days a week most of the year, by appointment only. For further details or to make an appointment please email

Acquisition Information

The papers were deposited at King's College Library by Mrs Henrietta Williamson on 18 July 1984.

Related Material

Researchers interested in Margaret Jourdain's work on furniture and architecture may also like to consult her papers held in the Victoria and Albert Museum.