Contents and Arrangement

Series 2: Correspondence, 1844-1987

9 boxes
Restrictions may apply. See Access Note.

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

The Correspondence series forms the heart of the collection. The bulk of the correspondence (Subseries 2A and 2D) is between Frances Hodgson Burnett (FHB) and her younger son, Vivian Burnett (VB), and spans the the late 1880s through her death in 1924. There are also letters between FHB and her older son, Lionel Burnett, prior to his death in 1890, as well as between FHB and her beloved sister, Edith Hodgson Fahnestock Jordan. Topics range from her busy social life and writing and play producing career that was divided between America and England, as well as descriptions of her many trips through Europe and other places around the globe. The eight subseries are divided among sender (FHB, VB, family and friends/other) and recipient (FHB, VB, family and friends/other, Constance Buel Burnett). Many letters include their original envelopes and therefore the respective postmark stamps, where legible, are used to date many of the letters by month, day and/or year. Some of the undated letters have a year penciled on them by hand and, on occasion, excerpts from letters enclosed within penciled brackets that appear to match some of the excerpts published in Vivian Burnett's 1927 book about his mother titled The Romantick Lady. Not all the penciled years may be accurate, however, and some have question marks and have subsequently been filed with the undated letters. An extensive number of letter excerpts published in Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina's 2004 biography, Frances Hodgson Burnett: The Unexpected Life of the Author of The Secret Garden, are labeled "Penny Deupree private collection" in the Notes section at the end of the book (Gerzina was granted access to Vivian Burnett's collection of FHB materials that was inherited by Penny Deupree, VB's granddaughter) and have been used to cross-reference some of the letter dates in this collection. There are also several penciled notes on slips of paper that summarize certain letters' contents and they have been retained with the original letters. Preservation photocopies were made for some of the letters in Subseries 2D (Vivian Burnett to FHB) and they are included with the originals.


The extensive correspondence between FHB and VB is arranged chronologically by year with undated letters at the end of each subseries. All other correspondents are divided between separate subseries for family members and friends/non-relatives/other by sender name and/or recipient. Letters from unidentified senders or recipients are included at the end of each subseries. Envelopes without letters are filed by year within the relevant subseries if the postmark is legible. Dates for some of the undated letters were estimated either by the stationery/paper type used or by a location written at the top of the first page.

Collection History

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:

Series 2: Correspondence; Vivian Burnett Collection of Frances Hodgson Burnett, C1304, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
  • Firestone Library (mss): Box 3-11

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