Alice Macdonald Fleming (Trix Kipling) Papers

Scope and Content

Material includes correspondence from and to Alice Macdonald Fleming and others, some with illustrations, a large number of family photographs from the 19th and 20th centuries, writings by Alice and Rudyard Kipling and a notebook that includes references to her own 'Elephant Language'. The Macdonald, Mackail and Burne Jones branches of the family are both well represented throughout the collection.
This collection comprises papers purchased at Ewbank's auction by University of Sussex in 2016.
The items were inherited by Helen MacDonald, Alice Macdonald Fleming's first cousin once removed. A full online listing is available through The Keep's website.

  • SxMs178/1 - Signed handwritten letter from Rudyard Kipling to Alice MacDonald Fleming (Trix Kipling).
  • SxMs178/2 - Correspondence from Alice MacDonald Fleming (Trix Kipling).
  • SxMs178/3/1 - Album of photographs relating to the Kipling and MacDonald families.
  • SxMs178/3/23 - Photographic negatives.
  • SxMs178/3/24 - Album of photographs, newspaper clippings and other ephemera.
  • SxMs178/3/25 - Album of photographs, family trees and other ephemera.
  • SxMs178/4 - Scripts for short stories by Alice MacDonald Fleming (Trix Kipling).
  • SxMs178/6 - Kipling Family Photographic Album.
  • SxMs178/7 - Photographs of Alice MacDonald Fleming (Trix Kipling) and of her husband Col Jack Fleming.

Administrative / Biographical History

Alice 'Trix' Macdonald Fleming (1868 - 1948) was born three years after her brother, the writer Rudyard Kipling. She was known for much of her life by the nickname 'Trix', a name given to her by her family when she was a baby because she was "such a tricksy little thing". In 1871, Trix and Rudyard were placed by their parents as boarders in a family home in Southsea, England; their parents returned to India for the following five years. Rudyard's accounts of this period detail a harrowing time in his and Trix's lives. It cannot be doubted that they had a difficult childhood there, caused in part by the fact that neither of their parents forewarned them of the plan to leave them in England. After her education was completed, Trix returned to India to be with her family in 1883.
Trix married Colonel Fleming, ten years her senior, in 1889, when she was 21 years old. Her father and brother did not approve of the match. She lived in Calcutta and Simla and, as well as writing, she was involved with charity work. In 1910, Trix and Colonel Fleming returned to the United Kingdom and settled in Edinburgh. However, when Trix's parents died within three months of each other, her mental illness of 1898 recurred; she battled with her health for the following decade. Her illness and distress were worsened by her divided loyalties towards her husband and her family, who regularly disagreed over her treatment.
By 1932, Trix had largely recovered and was able to return to Scotland. She was a loyal member of the Kipling Society and enthusiastically supported its foundation, acting as a Vice President and writing articles for the quarterly Kipling Journal. In 1943, Trix took over the lease of a shop in Edinburgh - 'Gifts and Gratitude' - which raised funds for army charities. She spent much time in Edinburgh Zoo enjoying the company of the animals there and was physically active until close to her death in 1948.

Trix was also known in certain circles for having inherited her ancestors' gift of 'second sight'. From an early age she could see ghosts and spirits and later became able to communicate with the deceased. Trix was a member of the Edinburgh Psychic College and contributed to the Psychic Press under a pseudonym, 'Mrs Holland'. Eclipsed by her brother's great fame as a writer, Trix was herself possessed of great literary talent. In 1884, she co-authored a volume of poetry, ' Echoes ', with her brother. First edition copies of this can be found in the Baldwin Papers, also stored in Special Collections. Trix published her first novel, ' The Heart of a Maid ', in 1891. This was followed by ' A Pinchbeck Goddess ' in 1897 and ' Her Brother's Keeper ' in 1901. She wrote numerous stories and articles for the press in both India and England - including, in 1885, works for 'Quartette, the Christmas annual of the Civil & Military Gazette' in collaboration with her brother Rudyard and their parents. In 1902 she published a volume of poetry, ' Hand in hand , Verses by a mother and daughter', with her mother Alice Kipling. Hilton Brown notes that it is a great pity Trix was not better known for her writing qualities and close relationship with her brother: "one feels at any rate that her contemporaries did not make all of her that should have been made."

See SxMs-38 - Kipling Papers - Wimpole Archive for a biography of Rudyard Kipling.


This description is based on ISAD (G) 2nd edition, 2000.

Access Information

The collection is available to all researchers upon proof of identity and acceptance of the terms and conditions of use.
Register and order material from this collection online by clicking on this link.

Acquisition Information

This collection comprises papers purchased at Ewbank's auction by University of Sussex in 2016. The items were inherited by Helen MacDonald, Alice Macdonald Fleming's first cousin once removed.

Conditions Governing Use

COPIES FOR PRIVATE STUDY: Subject to copyright, conditions imposed by owners and protecting the documents, digital copies can be made.

PUBLICATION: A reader wishing to publish material in the collection should contact the Head of Special Collections in writing. The reader is responsible for obtaining permission to publish from the copyright owner.


No accruals expected.

Related Material

  • SxMs-38 - Kipling Papers - Wimpole Archive
  • SxMs39 - Hollings Collection
  • SxMs-40 - Baldwin Papers
  • SxMs41 - Carrington Papers
  • SxMs46 - Lewis Collection
  • SxMs49 - Kipling-Lewin Letters
  • SxMs51 - Kipling-Courtauld Letters
  • SxMs53 - MacDonald Papers
  • SxMs54 - Tyler Gift
  • SxMs64 - Dunscombe Colt Papers
  • SxMs65 - Kipling-Lewis Letters
  • SxMs66 - Kipling-Parker Papers
  • SxMs67 - Kipling-Dunsterville Papers
  • SxMs68 - Kipling-Balestier-Dunham Papers
  • SxMs69 - Kipling-Beresford Papers
  • SxMs75 - Kipling-Blaikie Letters
  • SxMs90 - Trix Kipling Papers
  • SxMs98 - Kipling-Park Letters
  • SxMs99 - Kipling-Hard Letters
  • SxMs103 - Peter Baylis The Worlds Of Rudyard Kipling
  • SxMs104 - Kipling-Pilkington Collection