Autograph Letter Collection: Letters of Eliza Tabor

  • This material is held at
  • Reference
      GB 106 9/30
  • Dates of Creation
  • Language of Material
  • Physical Description
      1 A box (1 volume)

Scope and Content

The collection contains letters from members of the Tabor family (1830-1851), letters from Eliza Tabor to John Stephenson (1873), letters from Eliza Tabor to Mary Holdich (1876-1877), letters from Eliza Tabor to John Stephenson (1880-4), letters from Eliza Tabor to John Stephenson (1885), letters from Eliza Tabor to Mary Catherine Tabor, letters from and to Mary Catherine Tabor (1843-1887), various letters to Mary Catherine Tabor and Eliza Tabor and others (1862-1897).

9/30/A- Part 1 - The Tabor Letters. Letters from various members of the Tabor Family 1830-1877; Early Correspondence between Eliza Tabor and John Stephenson 1873 - Begin AL/5498; Letters from Eliza Stephenson in India to her mother Mary Tabor in Malvern 1876-7 - Begin AL/5504;

9/30/B - Letters from Eliza Stephenson to John Stephenson 1880-1884 - with a few additional.

9/30/C- Letters from Eliza Stephenson to John Stephenson 1885.

9/30/D- Letters from Eliza Stephenson to Mary Catherine Tabor 1886-1887; Letters to and from Mary Catherine Tabor 1843-1887; Various letters to Mary Catherine and Eliza Tabor and others.

Administrative / Biographical History

Eliza Tabor (1835-1914) was born in 1835, the daughter of John Tabor, a private school teacher in York, and Mary Holdich. She and her sister Mary Catherine were educated at home and then became school assistants in the family's establishment. Eliza Tabor published her first works in the early 1850s, a series of articles in the 'British Mothers'Magazine'which were later brought together under the title of 'Woodcroft'. This was followed by one novel, 'All for the Best: The Story of a Quiet Life'which was poorly received and another, 'St Olave', which established her as a novelist. This in turn was followed by another, 'Juanita's Cross', which was the first of a series which had a religious theme. This was a reflection of her theological thinking in the period as, after her father's death, she renounced the family's Methodism along with her mother and sister. However, they remained in contact with many family friends and in particular, the Stephensons of Nottingham. Their son John, who had returned from India as a widower, became engaged to her and the couple were married in Bombay in 1875. They remained in India where Stephenson was a senior chaplain until Eliza Tabor returned home in late 1880 and began to look after her stepchildren from her husband's first marriage as well as helping her mother during her illness. In her new home in Malvern she established a local Ruskin Society to discuss his works and became friends with Arthur Tennyson. She and the children remained there for seven years during which time she began to write for the young, and completed several adult novels. Brief marital problems in 1885 were followed by the death of her mother and the return of her husband in spring 1886. He accepted the parish of St Thomas'in Toxteth, Liverpool, where the family moved the following year and remained until 1892 when they moved to Boston in Lincolnshire. She no longer published and lived the life of a vicar's wife after this until 1905 when her husband retired due to illness. They both died in 1914.


Arranged in chronological order.

Access Information

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

Acquisition Information

These letters were removed from the archive of Eliza Tabor (7EZT) by The Fawcett Library

Other Finding Aids

Abstracts of individual letters in the autograph letters collection were written and held alongside the letters. This work was done from the 1960s by volunteers including Nan Taylor. In 2004 Jean Holder completed a 3 year project to list the letters, copy-type the abstracts, and repackage the letters to meet preservation needs. In 2005 Vicky Wylde and Teresa Doherty proof read and imported the entries to the Special Collections Catalogue.

The original card index of all correspondents, including date of letter & volume reference, is available on the microfiche.

Alternative Form Available

A copy of this archive is available on microfilm held at The Women's Library.

Related Material

The Women's Library also holds further papers of Eliza Tabor (7EZT) which have not yet been catalogued and are therefore unavailable for consultation.