Papers of Vita Sackville-West

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Collection consists of manuscript notebook containing drafts of Vita's 'In the Garden' articles. Also a file containing related correspondence and literature about plants

Administrative / Biographical History

Vita Sackville-West, only daughter of Victoria and Lionel Sackville-West, was born on 9 March 1892 at Knole in Kent. Vita spent much of her young life in Paris, contributing to her fluent knowledge of French. Between 1906 and 1910 Vita wrote eight novels and several plays, some of which were in French, and she continued writing throughout her life. In 1910 Vita met politician Harold George Nicholson and they married in 1913, they had two sons, Benedict and Nigel. Vita and Harold led an unconventional marriage and both were to have many passionate affairs with members of the same sex, however their marriage remained strong. Vita wrote in many genres and her numerous works include 'All Passion Spent', 1931; 'Pepita', 1937; 'A Joy of Gardening: A Selection for Americans', 1958; 'Knole and the Sackvilles', 1922; 'Passenger to Teheran', 1926'; 'In Your Garden', 1951. In 1947 Vita began a weekly column in The Observer called 'In Your Garden', where she was able to write about her keen knowledge of horticulture, and experiences from her garden at her Sissinghurst Castle. Vita wrote her gardening column for 15 years, and continued to write until her death in 1962.

Conditions Governing Access

Open. Records may be viewed in our reading room by appointment only, see our website for more information.

Acquisition Information

Purchased at auction from the National Trust, 25 September 2001

Other Finding Aids

A full catalogue description for this collection can be found on the GNM Archive catalogue.