Elizabeth P. Richardson Papers
Elizabeth Power Richardson was born on August 28, 1922 in Newton, Massachusetts. She attended Smith College, graduating in 1943. Elizabeth Power Richardson was the supervising editor at McGraw Hill College Division, specializing in the physical sciences. She continued to work as a freelance editor after she married American Foreign Service officer W. Garland Richardson in 1949.
Richardson's interest in Virginia Woolf began at the age of twelve, when she first heard Flush read out loud. She began collecting articles for her Virginia Woolf scrapbooks in the early 1940s, with the idea of creating a book that would track the fluctuation in Woolf's reputation. Although this project was abandoned, Richardson's interest in Woolf continued as she accompanied her husband abroad to countries such as Suriname and Japan. Unfortunately, her first library of early editions of Virginia Woolf was dropped into Yokohama Harbor by mistake en route from Monrovia, Liberia, to Tokyo. But Mrs. Richardson continued to collect, expanding her collection to include members of the Bloomsbury Group and others associated with Virginia Woolf. Over the years her "working collection" grew to include nearly two thousand volumes along with numerous scrapbooks of ephemera. Richardson was inspired by Roger Fry's statement that "the really useful collector [is one] who by merely bringing objects together, classifying them, interpreting their interrelationships creates new values altogether."1
While living in Suriname, Mrs. Richardson began creating illustration lists for the books in her collection and continued to do so after her return to the United States. Indexing photographic reproductions of the Bloomsbury Group became a passion, which eventually resulted in Mrs. Richardson's meticulously researched publication A Bloomsbury Iconography (Winchester: St. Paul's Bibliographies, 1989). Soon after her bibliography was published, she moved from her home in Geneva, New York, to Northampton, Massachusetts. In 1985, Elizabeth Richardson presented to Smith College a photograph album compiled by Leslie Stephen in 1895. Mrs. Richardson's children presented their mother's Bloomsbury Iconography Collection to the Mortimer Rare Book Room after her death in 1998.
1 Richardson, Elizabeth P. A Bloomsbury Iconography. Preface. St Paul's Bibliographies, 1989.