Joyce Lankester Brisley children's author: papers

Scope and Content

The archive contains early manuscripts and typescripts by Joyce Lankester Brisley, including her diary from 1912 - 1919, individual stories, collections of poems, and two juvenile magazines spanning several years and produced in collaboration with Joyce's sister, Nina Kennard Brisley. Among the drawings are the set of original illustrations to Milly-Molly-Mandy again , published by George G. Harrap in 1948.

Administrative / Biographical History

Joyce Lankester Brisley, children's writer and illustrator, was born on 6th Feb 1896 in Bexhill-on-Sea, Sussex. She was the second of three sisters; Nina was a year younger and Ethel the eldest. Joyce's father, George Brisley, was a local pharmacist whilst his wife, Constance, looked after the family. All three sisters attended evening classes at Hastings School of Art. By the time the girls were in their teens, Ethel was exhibiting at the Royal Academy and Joyce and Nina were contributing illustrations to Home chat .

After the break-up of the Brisley's marriage in June 1912, Constance Brisley and her three daughters moved to a small flat in Brixton, London. Joyce and Nina enrolled at Lambeth School of Art in Oct, seeking to overcome the loss of their father's income by earning a living from writing stories and illustrating Christmas cards, postcards and children's annuals.

The family were dedicated Christian Scientists and in 1918, when the family moved to Barons Court, a contact at their local Christian Science church encouraged both Joyce and Nina to submit stories and drawings to an American magazine, The Christian Science monitor . Joyce's first story of Milly-Molly-Mandy appeared in The Christian Science monitor in Oct 1925. Stories of the little girl proved popular and the first collection of them, Milly-Molly-Mandy stories , was published in the UK by George G. Harrap in 1928.

Nina Kennard Brisley married in 1933 and became the illustrator of Elinor Brent-Dyer's much-loved Chalet School series. Ethel Brisley died in 1961 and Joyce in Sept 1978, just a few months after Nina.

Conditions Governing Access

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only. Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by The Joyce Lankester Brisley Charitable Trust, Mar 2007.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:


Milly-Molly-Mandy books by Joyce Lankester Brisley:

Milly-Molly-Mandy stories , 1928.

More of Milly-Molly-Mandy , 1929.

Further doings of Milly-Molly-Mandy , 1932.

Three little Milly-Molly-Mandy plays , 1938.

Milly-Molly-Mandy again , 1948.

Milly-Molly-Mandy & Co. , 1955.

Milly-Molly-Mandy and Billy Blunt , 1967.

The Milly-Molly-Mandy omnibus , 1976.

The Milly-Molly-Mandy second omnibus , 1976.

The Milly-Molly-Mandy storybook , 1996.

Other books written or illustrated by Joyce Lankester Brisley:

Hurrah for the trains , 1919.

Jolly days at the sea , 1919.

Jolly days at the zoo , 1921.

Jolly days with Neddy , 1921

Lambs'-tails and suchlike , 1930.

The dawn shops and other stories , 1933.

Marigold in godmother's house , 1934.

Die Verhaal van Josef , 1934.

Bunchy , 1937.

Adventures of the little wooden horse , by Urusla Moray Williams, illustrated by Joyce Lankester Brisley, 1938.

My Bible-book , 1940.

Adventures of Purl and Plain , 1941.

The wide, wide world , 1950. (Revision of Elizabeth's Wetherell's The wide, wide world , 1851).

Another Bunchy book , 1951.

Children of the Bible days , 1970.

The New Testament story , 1973.

The Joyce Lankester Brisley book , 1981.

Secondary sources on Joyce Lankester Brisley:

Factor, June, 'Joyce Lankester Brisley: an appreciation', Children's literature in education, vol. 10, no. 4 (Winter 1979), 163-173.