Mary Moorman Papers

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

The papers mainly consist of correspondence between George M. Trevelyan, Janet Trevelyan and Mary Moorman, dealing in particular with writing and research, or in Janet Trevelyan's case, with her social work and fund raising for the children's play centres in London. There is also material from other members of the extended Trevelyan family including George O. Trevelyan and Caroline P. Trevelyan, Charles P. Trevelyan and Robert C. Trevelyan; correspondence relating to the death of Theodore M. Trevelyan in 1911; correspondence from Mrs Humphry Ward and her daughter Dorothy Ward and from the Philips and Price family. There are letters to Mary Moorman from a variety of relations, friends and contacts, including Pauline Dower (ne Trevelyan), Geoffrey Trevelyan, Anna Philips (Mary Moorman's great aunt, known as Aunt Annie), Morgan Philips Price (known as Phil Price), William Robert Price (known as Robin Price), Margaret Cropper and other literary friends, plus other letters reflecting her interests in literary and historical matters, and preservation of flora, fauna and land.

There is some material relating to the Mary Moorman's memoir of her father; George Macaulay Trevelyan : a Memoir, which includes notes, letters and documents from the First British Ambulance Unit for Italy under George M. Trevelyan's command during the First World War, 1914-1918, as well as letters from members of the Unit written at the time of her research.

Administrative / Biographical History

Mary Caroline Moorman, ne Trevelyan (1905-1994), was born on 19 February 1905. She was the first child of George Macaulay Trevelyan, the historian, who was in turn the third son of Sir George Otto Trevelyan of Wallington, Northumberland; whilst her mother was Janet Penrose Trevelyan, ne Ward, whose mother was the novelist Mary Augusta Ward, known as Mrs Humphry Ward.

Mary Moorman was educated at Berkhampsted School, Hertfordshire and Somerville College, Oxford, gaining a first class honours in history. In the Autumn of 1926 and 1927 she studied near to Amsterdam which resulted in the publication of her first book William III and the Defence of Holland, 1672-4 in 1930. In the same year she married John R.H. Moorman. They initially lived in Leeds whilst John was curate of Holbeck parish, but consequently moved to various parts of England including Chichester, where John was Principal of Chichester Theological College and Chancellor of Chichester Cathedral until 1956. It was whilst living here that Mary began the copious research to write her books on William Wordsworth. In 1959 John became the Bishop of Ripon and although this meant more work within the Diocese, Mary was still able to continue her research and take on roles within The Wordsworth Trust. With John's retirement in 1975, they moved to Durham where they both continued to research and write books. John Moorman died in January 1989 and Mary Moorman in January 1994.

One of Mary's two volumes of biography of William Wordsworth, published in 1965, was awarded the James Tait Prize for Biography. Mary also published revised editions of William and Dorothy's letters and of Dorothy's journals. She was a trustee at The Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere from 1960 and for some years the chair, resigning in 1983. In 1980 she published a memoir of her father, George Macaulay Trevelyan : a Memoir. She was an Honorary Doctor of the Universities of Leeds and Durham, where she also lectured from time to time.


Most of the material has remained in the order received but, for example, where correspondence was bundled together by author, the bundles have been separated into years and some description of contents given when deemed appropriate. Other material such as the memoir notes, miscellaneous material etc. has been placed chronologically.

  • MM 1 Correspondence from George M. Trevelyan [1882]-1962
  • MM 2 Correspondence from Janet Trevelyan 1889-1954
  • MM 3 Correspondence of George O. Trevelyan & Caroline P. Trevelyan 1906-1940
  • MM 4 Correspondence from C. Humphry Trevelyan 1919-1941
  • MM 5 Correspondence from Mary C. Trevelyan (later Moorman) 1923-1950
  • MM 6 Correspondence from Philips & Price family [1919]-1985
  • MM 7 Correspondence relating to the death of Theodore M. Trevelyan 1911
  • MM 8 Correspondence with Ward family 1872-1958
  • MM 9 Correspondence etc. with George M. Trevelyan 1901-1967
  • MM 10 Correspondence with Mary C. Trevelyan (later Moorman) 1912-1992
  • MM 11 Papers concerning George Macaulay Trevelyan : a Memoir1914-1984
  • MM 12 Miscellaneous material & photographs 1911-1992

Conditions Governing Access

Access is open to bona fide researchers; appointment in advance and proof of identity required.

Acquisition Information

Letters from George M. Trevelyan to Mary Moorman bequeathed by Mary Moorman, all other papers purchased by the Friends of Newcastle University Library.MM 12/6-8 deposited on permanent loan by Dr. G. Boughton in 2000.


The collection of Mary Moorman papers were divided up after her death. With the exception of the letters from George M. Trevelyan to Mary Moorman, which were bequeathed by Mary Moorman to Newcastle University Library, all other material in the collection was purchased by the Friends of the University Library. Material relating to her work on Wordsworth and relating to the Arnold and Ward families are to be found at The Wordsworth Trust, Dove Cottage, Grasmere.

Description complied by Helen Arkwright, Manuscripts and Archives Librarian, August 2001.

Other Finding Aids

Catalogue to the papers available in the Enright Reading Room ref. : MM;National Register of Archives ref. : NRA 43047 Moorman

Conditions Governing Use

Reproduction: The Trevelyan family has agreed to the reproduction of up to 12 items from the collections for educational and private research. Any more substantial requests should be addressed in the first instance to the Special Collections Librarian (email:

Copyright: Permission to make published use of any material from Special Collections must be sought in writing from both the Special Collections Librarian (email: and with the copyright owner if appropriate. The library will assist where possible with the identification of copyright owners, but the responsibility to obtain copyright clearance rests with the user.

Related Material

Papers relating to George M. Trevelyan:

  • Newcastle University Library:Papers of George O. Trevelyan ref. : GOT; National Register of Archives ref. : NRA 12238 Trevelyan
  • Charles P. Trevelyan ref. : CPT; National Register of Archives ref. : NRA 12238 Trevelyan
  • Walter Runciman ref. : WR; National Register of Archives ref. : NRA 13873 Runciman
  • Papers relating to Mary Moorman's research on William Wordsworth and to the Arnold and Ward families:Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, Cumbria


Boughton, Gillian, "Mary Moorman : 1905-1994" The Wordsworth Circle, Spring 1998.Boughton, Gillian, Dictionary of Literary Biography - vol. 155 - Twentieth Century British Literary Biographers. ed. Steven Serafin.