From Barbara Harriet Taqui Stephens, née Altounyan (1917-2001)

Scope and Content

Letters sent from Barbara Harriet Taqui Stephens, née Altounyan (1917-2001).

Administrative / Biographical History

Barbara Harriet Taqui Altounyan was born in Hampstead, north London, in 1917, the eldest daughter of the five children of Dr Ernest Altounyan and Dora Collingwood. In 1919, the Altounyans had moved to Aleppo so that Ernest could work at his father's hospital so most of her childhood was spent in Syria. Arthur Ransome loosely based the character of John Walker in Swallows and Amazons on her. She married Robert Stephens in 1944 and they had three children. She was the author of two celebrated memoirs of Syria, ‘In Aleppo Once’ and ‘Chimes from a Wooden Bell’, and also an artist. She died in 2001.