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Collection Overview

Burnett, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924.
Vivian Burnett Collection of Frances Hodgson Burnett
Manuscripts Division
Permanent URL:
1844-2003 (mostly 1885-1937)
22 boxes and 17.6 linear feet
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-17; 22
  • Firestone Library (scahsvm): Box 18-21


Consists of material relating to the British-born, American author Frances Hodgson Burnett (FHB), collected by her younger son, Vivian Burnett (VB), including manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, and artwork.

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of material relating to the British-born, American author Frances Hodgson Burnett, collected by her younger son, Vivian Burnett. Included are: (1) Approximately 400 autograph letters and 20 autograph postcards from Frances Hodgson Burnett to Vivian Burnett and other family members. There are also several hundred letters received by Burnett from Vivian Burnett and other family members and friends. The correspondence dates primarily from the 1880s until her death. (2) Frances Hodgson Burnett, Chapter 1 of Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886), 14 pages (final page lacking). The remainder of the original manuscript is in RBSC's Wilkinson Collection of Mary Mapes Dodge (229 pages). (3) Frances Hodgson Burnett, 3-page typescript (no corrections) of an essay on children's literature, along with three autograph manuscripts of poems (believed to be unpublished) and other miscellaneous fragments. (4) Guest book (bound volume) for Maytham Hall, her home in Kent, England, including a sketch by Henry James and several drawings by Poultney Bigelow. (5) Two original drawings by Reginald Birch for the first edition of Little Lord Fauntleroy ; and James Montgomery Flagg's signed drawing of Frances Hodgson Burnett (1921). (6) Approx. 30 original photographs of Frances Hodgson Burnett, her son Vivian dressed as "Little Lord Fauntleroy," and her residences in England (including the actual "Secret Garden") and the United States. (7) Two "Little Lord Fauntleroy" costumes (velvet, lace, and silk), which Burnett had made for her son Vivian and in which he posed for photography; and one dress of Frances Hodgson Burnett; and a box of additional lace. (8) Typescripts of plays, a scrapbook, and other materials relating to Burnett and her literary career.

Collection Creator Biography:

Burnett, Frances Hodgson, 1849-1924.

Frances Hodgson Burnett was best known for her children's books Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886) and The Secret Garden (1911), but also published many novels for adults as well as plays adapted from her works. Here is an abbreviated biographical timeline of Frances Hodgson Burnett's life that includes the major residence addresses (marked "[stationery]" below) from which she wrote her letters that are in this collection:

Collection History


Purchased in 2009 , with funds provided by the Friends of the Princeton University Library and the Richard M. Ludwig Endowment, donated by by Michael Spence, Class of 1966.

Additions purchased from Maggs Bros. Ltd. in 2010, transferred from EX Behrman American No. 20 in 2010, and gift of Hennepin County Library in 2012.

Custodial History

Acquired from Penelope Deupree and Robin Boone, co-heirs to these materials through their mother, Verity Burnett Chisholm (older daughter of Vivian Burnett).


No appraisal information is available.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Sylvia Yu in March - April 2009. Finding aid written by Sylvia Yu in April 2009.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research. For reasons of preservation, access to the clothing and original Fauntleroy costumes is restricted.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Vivian Burnett Collection of Frances Hodgson Burnett; Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Permanent URL:
Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • This is stored in multiple locations.
  • Firestone Library (scamss): Boxes 1-17; 22
  • Firestone Library (scahsvm): Box 18-21