Personal Papers of Dorothy Howard (The Lady Henley)

Scope and Content

The papers mainly comprise Dorothy Howard's letters home from Girton 1901-05. The large number of letters she wrote, principally to her mother, offer a detailed and often vivid account of life at Girton, and of the sometimes passionate commitment to the liberal political agenda that Dorothy inherited from her family. Included are some letters of a tour of Ireland with a friend, taken immediately after she left College, and a copy of a letter from Augustus Birrell in 1908.

Administrative / Biographical History

Lady Dorothy Howard (The Lady Henley) was the daughter of Rosalind, Countess of Carlisle and the granddaughter of Lady Stanley of Alderley, both benefactors of Girton College. Her father was George Howard, 9th Earl of Carlisle, an amateur artist whose work was honoured by contemporary professionals. She was brought up at the family seats of Naworth Castle and Castle Howard, educated at home, and came to Girton 1901-1905 to read first History and then Economics, BA (TCD) 1905. While at Girton she wrote home several times a week and although her letters appear to represent the filial affections of a dutiful daughter, relations with her mother were stormy. In 1913 she married Francis Eden, 6th Baron Henley and had two sons and three daughters. She was, at various times of her life, a member of Girton College Council, Yorkshire Rural District Council, the Executive Committee of the Women's Liberal Association and Hon. Secretary of the British Women's Temperance Association. A newspaper obituary described her as the 'last of the great Liberal ladies'; her chief interests were votes for women and temperance. She was also an enthusiastic amateur actress.


The letters from Girton are arranged in bundles which correspond to the academic year or to College terms.

Conditions Governing Access

Please cite as Girton College Archive, Cambridge, Personal Papers of Dorothy Howard (The Lady Henley), GCPP Howard

Acquisition Information

The letters were given by Lady Henley in July 1955. A note from DH states: 'They are being sent to Girton (she hopes) in no spirit of auto-biographical egotism, but as a picture of a student's life.'

Other Finding Aids

As at Sep 2008 an online catalogue was available at

Archivist's Note

Collection Description taken from JANUS in Sep 2008 as part of Genesis 2008 Project

Related Material

There is a letter from Lady Henley to Helen McMorran in 1960 enclosing an article about DH's memories of Girton in 1901 at GCPP McMorran 3. The article was published in the Girton Review Easter Term 1961. A joint Howard and Stanley of Alderley family tree is available with the papers.


Dorothy Henley's biography of her mother, 'Rosalind Howard, Countess of Carlisle' (Hogarth Press, 1958) contains much contextual information and a reference to the letters at Girton (p 118).