MAYNARD, Constance Louisa (1849-1935)

Scope and Content

This collection contains the papers of Constance Maynard from 1866-1935. It comprises diaries of a varying nature relating to all aspects of the life of Constance Maynard including her Greenbook diaries 1866-1935 - of her emotions, thoughts, extracts from letters, sermons and texts; her Diaries 1871-1913 - detailing weekly activities and events of both a personal and work nature; her Sundial Diaries 1911-1935 - recording the search for both cottages, the Sundial, Little Bookham and the Sundial, Gerrard's Cross, and subsequently details of life in retirement such as accounts of her visitors, visits made, community work and works read and written; her Travel Diaries, 1868-1926 - of her college vacations, holidays, tours and visits, detailing companions and places visited with some photographs, maps and drawings; Diaries regarding Effie [Stephanë Anthon] 1887-1915 - detailing the life, character and relationship with Effie [Stephanë Anthon] from the arrangement of her adoption until her death; the Autobiography written 1915-1933 - covering 1849-1927, divided into seven parts and further into chapters by Constance Maynard, covering all aspects of her life, and including her edited version of a history of the Henry Maynard family, c.1920s, originally written by her Cousin Mary [HM King] 1910, covering 1839-1910; Writings by Constance Maynard 1870-1931 - including indexed anthologies of her own poems, and of poems by other authors, anecdotes told to her, notes on subjects such as Euminides and the Parables, Extracts from Texts, and a Bible with extensive notes added by Constance Maynard; Writings by Family and Friends 1871-1905 - including diaries and notebooks of Catherine Firth, Dora Maynard and Mabel Prideaux; and Personal Memorabilia, 1868-1913 - including her Girton College Degree Certificate, a life painting of Limpsfield, a book presented to her by Westfield College on her retirement and a life painting of The Sundial, Little Bookham.

Administrative / Biographical History

Constance Lousia Maynard was born on 9 February 1849 in Middlesex, one of four daughters and two sons of Henry Maynard (1880-1888) South African merchant, and his wife Louisa Maynard née Hillyard (1806-1878). She grew up in Hawkhurst, Kent, in the house of Oakfield. She was educated at home, before studying for one year at Belstead School in Suffolk. After her education was completed she, alongside her sisters, helped in the community. In 1872, Constance Maynard left to study at Hitchin College, and moved with the college to Cambridge to become Girton College, in 1873. She was the first Girton student to study the Moral Sciences tripos and in 1875 received a second class honours degree. Whilst at Girton she established a group called Girton Prayer Group.

After leaving Girton, due to problems in the family business, Constance Maynard was allowed to accept an invitation from Frances Dove to join the staff of Cheltenham Ladies' College. In 1877 she left with her colleague and friend Louisa Lumsden to establish St Leonard's School, at St Andrews, where Lumsden was head. During her three years (1877-1880) here, she rejected offers of headships, including that of her former school Belstead. She also hesitatingly refused a marriage proposal from Scottish Minister Dr James Robertson. In 1880 she moved to London with her brother and studied part time at the Slade School of Art. Whilst studying here she became involved with a group of individuals including Major Charles Hamilton Malan, Ann Dudin Brown and and Caroline Cavendish, with the shared aim of establishing a ladies' college. All with varying ideas of how the college should proceed, Constance Maynard was an integral part of forming the plans for her ideal college - to prepare ladies for the London degree, based on Christian principles. The group first met for discussions in February 1882, and in May Constance Maynard was offered the position of Mistress (a title borrowed from Girton), and in October of that year, Westfield College opened in two private houses in Hampstead.

She remained Mistress of Westfield for thirty-three years, retiring in 1913, leaving Westfield as a securely established school of the University of London. She had taught around five hundred students, and many were successful working in schools, colleges and for missionary organisations. She kept in close contact with her old students through letters and visits, and maintained strong relationships with them. . The money they collected as a parting gift she donated to the college; some was used as a hardship fund, the remainder as endowment for the Maynard divinity lectures. In 1888 Maynard adopted a child of Italian extraction, through a friend in the Salvation Army. At the time of her adoption Stephanë Anthon, known as Effie, was eight years old, and the relationship between them was a tumultuous one. Whilst Constance continued to support Effie until her death in 1915, from tuberculosis, it is detailed in her diaries as a period of disappoint.

Religious movements, from the Salvation Army to the Modern Churchmen's Union, figure prominently in the life of Constance Maynard. She was elected as old students' representative to the governing body of Girton and served from 1897 to about 1905 on the council of the Church Schools' Society. She also traveled extensively around the world; to South Africa, the Holy Land, Canada, Europe, and by bicycle throughout the British Isles. After her retirement, Constance Maynard spent her time travelling, receiving visitors, reading and writing. She wrote poetry, including four volumes of War poems, lectures, particularly Divinity lectures, and pamphlets of a moral nature on subjects such as temperance. Her published works include 'Between College Terms (1910); 'The Life of Dora Greenwell' (1926); 'From an early Victorian schoolroom to the university' , Nineteenth Century, November 1914; contributions to The Hibbert Journal and other religious periodicals; and numerous tracts and pamphlets. Her unpublished writings include an unfinished autobiography, composed at intervals between 1915 and 1927.

Constance Maynard died at her home, The Sundial, Marsham Way, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire, on 26 March 1935, and was buried at Gerrards Cross parish church on 29 March. Under her will the college received £1500 to fund an entrance scholarship.


This collection has been arranged by function, chronologically, and where possible respecting the original order of the records. It has been divided into 9 series; Greenbook Diaries; Diaries; Sundial Diaries; Travel Diaries and Notebooks; Diaries regarding Effie [Stephanë Anthon]; Autobiography; Writings by Constance Maynard; Writings by Family and Friends; and Personal Memorabilia.

Access Information

The Archives are available for access in the Archives Reading Room located on the 2nd Floor of the Mile End Library. The Archives Reading Room is open Mondays to Fridays 9am-4pm by appointment only. Contact the Archives for more information: Archives, Main Library QMUL, 328 Mile End Rd, London E1 4NS, telephone: 020 7882 3873, email: . For more information about the Archives see the website:

Acquisition Information

Acquired by Westfield College.

Other Finding Aids

Alternative Form Available

The green book diaries and autobiography have been digitised and are available for consultation on the website, .

Archivist's Note

Sources: Who's Who 1897-1996, CD-ROM (A & C Black); British Library Public Catalogue On-line; Historical Manuscripts Commission On-line National Register of Archives. Compiled by Julie Tancell as part of the RSLP AIM25 project.

Separated Material

Correspondence with Miss AW Richardson, 1883-1910, held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (reference: D1006).

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying at the discretion of the Archivist.

Related Material

Westfield College Collection, held at Queen Mary, University of London.


Constance Louisa Maynard, Mistress of Westfield College. A family portrait Catherine Beatrice Firth (George Allen & Unwin, London, 1949)

Corporate Names