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Carolyn G. Heilbrun Papers, 1846-1979
3 boxes (1.25 linear ft.)
Collection number: MS 11

Professor and decorated writer who wrote The Garnett Family (1961) and Christopher Isherwood (1971). Includes correspondence, newspaper articles, photographs of the Garnett family, notes, and interviews relating to the two aforementioned works.
Mortimer Rare Book Room
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Biographical Note


In 1993, Carolyn Heilbrun became Avalon Foundation Professor in the Humanities Emerita at Columbia University, after thirty-three years of teaching there. She has had fellowships from the Guggenheim and Rockefeller Foundations, and from the NEH. In 1984, she was President of the Modern Language Association. She has been a visiting professor at Princeton, Swarthmore, Yale, Union Theological Seminary, the University of California, and at Columbia and Yale Law schools and has received many honorary degrees from colleges and universities. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Modern Language Association in 2000, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2000. Heilbrun has published: The Garnett Family, Christopher Isherwood, Toward a Recognition of Androgyny, Reinventing Womanhood, Writing a Woman's Life , Hamlet's Mother and Other Women, The Education of A Woman: A Life of Gloria Steinem, The Last Gift of Time, and the University of Toronto Alexander Lectures, Women's Lives: The View from the Threshold. Her latest book is When All Our Models Were Men: My Teachers Barzun, Fadiman, Trilling. She has published numerous articles and reviews. Under the name Amanda Cross, she has published fourteen detective novels. Her latest detective novel, The Edge of Doom, was published in October, 2002.


Richard Garnett was an English librarian and writer. He served on the staff of the British Museum (1851-1899) as keeper of printed books (1890-1899); and director (from 1880). In 1905 Garnett published a general catalogue of the British Museum. He also wrote Relics of Shelley (1862), The Twilight of the Gods (1888, fables), History of Italian Literature (1897), and several biographies. Richard Garnett was the father of Edward Garnett.


Constance Garnett was the wife of Edward Garnett and mother of David Garnett. Her translations of many Russian writers, such as Dostoevsky, achieved great popularity in the first two decades of the twentieth century and had a profound influence on modernist writers. Garnett studied classics at Newnham College, Cambridge University, and began to learn Russian in the early 1890s.


Edward Garnett was the father of David Garnett, husband of Constance Garnett, and son of Richard Garnett. As a publisher's reader and critic, he discovered, advised, and tutored many British writers, including Conrad, Galsworthy, Ford Maddox Ford, D.H. Lawrence, and W.H. Hudson. Garnett also authored plays, including The Breaking Point (1907), The Feud (1907), and The Trial of Jeanne d'Arc (1912).

DAVID GARNETT, 1892-1981

David Garnett was the only child of Edward and Constance Garnett, and was known almost universally as "Bunny." Although trained at the Royal College of Science as a botanist, he later turned to a highly successful literary career. Among his twenty-one works of fiction, Lady into Fox (1922) is notable for having won both the Hawthornden and Tait-Black prizes for 1923. The unexpected success of this novel led Bunny to withdraw in 1924 from the bookshop he had established in 1920 with Francis Birell to devote more time to his writing. From 1923 to 1935 he was partner in the Nonesuch Press, and from 1932 to 1935 he was literary editor of the New Statesman and Nation. He wrote several memoirs.


Christopher Isherwood was an American-English novelist, poet and playwright. He authored autobiographical and quasi-autobiographical works including the short-story collection Goodbye to Berlin (1939), the novels: The World in the Evening (1954), Down There On A Visit (1962), A Meeting by the River (1967), and Christopher and His Kind (1976). His work included screenwriting for various film studios (from 1939). As a convert, Isherwood wrote, edited, and translated works on Vedantism.


Hussey, Mark. Virginia Woolf A to Z. New York, 1995.

Merriam-Webster's Biographical Dictionary. Merriam-Webster Incorporated, 1995.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Carolyn G. Heilbrun Papers consist of 1.25 linear feet of material, dating from 1846 to 1979, relating to her works: The Garnett Family (1961) and Christopher Isherwood (1971). Types of materials include correspondence, newspaper articles, photographs of the Garnett family, notes, and interviews. This collection was donated to Smith College by Carolyn Heilbrun in November 1989. The papers are arranged in four series.

The papers are arranged in four series.

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Preferred Citation

Please use the following format when citing materials from this collection:

Carolyn G. Heilbrun Papers, Mortimer Rare Book Room, Smith College.

History of the Collection

This collection was donated to Smith College by Carolyn Heilbrun in November 1989.

Additional Information
Contact Information
Mortimer Rare Book Room
William Allan Neilson Library
Smith College
Northampton, MA 01063

Phone: (413) 585-2906
Fax: (413) 585-2904