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Belloc Family Correspondence

Collection MS-2007-008: Belloc Family Correspondence


  • Creation: 1849-1976, undated
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1900-1942

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence to and from the members of Hilaire Belloc’s immediate family. It features letters written between the family members, as well as correspondence from members of the extended family including Hilaire Belloc's mother, Bessie R. Belloc, his sister, Marie Belloc Lowndes, and Eleanor Belloc’s husband, Reginald Jebb. This collection also contains several documents related to the Belloc family including school reports, exercise books, and a program for a school function in which Eleanor and Elizabeth Belloc were participants.


Language of Materials

English, French.

Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note:

The British writer Joseph Hilaire Peter Belloc was born in Celle Saint-Cloud, France, on 27 July 1870. In 1896 he married an American, Elodie Hogan, with whom he had five children-three sons and two daughters: Louis (1897), Eleanor (1899), Elizabeth (1900), Hilary (1902) and Peter (1904). Belloc began his literary career with Verses and Sonnets (1895). He next published The Bad Child’s Book of Beasts (1896), a collection of nonsense verse that was so popular it sold out in four days. Belloc then produced a series of biographies that included Danton (1899) and Robespiere (1901). In 1902 he published Path to Rome, which is perhaps his most representative work for its combination of Belloc’s love for travel, as well as his fierce Roman Catholicism. It recounts Belloc’s journey on foot from Toul, France to Rome, Italy.

In 1906 Belloc was elected to the House of Commons as the representative for South Salford, a seat that he held until 1910. He left his political career to pursue journalism, founding the political journal, New Witness, with G.K. Chesterton. His political broadsides written with Chesterton and his brother, Cecil, were popularly known as the “Chesterbellocs.” Belloc also served as editor of Land and Water, a journal devoted to the progress of the First World War, from 1914 to 1920. Elodie Belloc died in 1914, and Belloc’s eldest son, Louis, was killed in 1918 while serving in World War I. Belloc’s youngest son, Peter, a captain in the Royal Marines, would later die during World War II.

Belloc was decorated with the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Gregory the Great in 1934 by Pope Pius XI for his devotion to Catholicism as a writer. That same year, he was also awarded an honorary Master of Arts from Oxford University. Belloc published prolifically over the course of his life. He wrote 153 books of essays, fiction, history, biography, and poetry, as well as numerous articles for periodicals.

He continued to travel extensively until suffering a stroke in 1942. On 12 July 1953, Belloc accidentally fell into his fireplace while sleeping beside it. He was badly burned and died on 16 July 1953.

Sources A.N. Wilson Hilaire Belloc: A Biography, Atheneum: New York, 1984.


2 Linear Feet (5 containers)


This collection contains correspondence to and from various members of the Belloc family including Hilaire Belloc; his wife, Elodie Belloc; his mother, Bessie R. Belloc; his sister Marie Belloc Lowndes; and Hilaire and Elodie's children, Louis, Eleanor, Elizabeth, Hilary and Peter.


Arranged into eleven series. Series I. Bessie R. Belloc Correspondence, Series II. Marie Belloc Lowndes Correspondence, Series III. Hilaire Belloc Correspondence, Series IV. Elodie Belloc Correspondence, Series V. Louis Belloc Correspondence, Series VI. Eleanor Belloc Correspondence, Series VII. Elizabeth Belloc Correspondence, Series VIII. Hilary Belloc Correspondence, Series IX. Peter Belloc Correspondence, Series X. Other Belloc Family Members’ Correspondence, and Series XI. Other Correspondence and Documents.

All are organized chronologically within series.


Purchased from the Belloc estate (1981).

Related Materials

Belloc Family Correspondence, MS.1996.028, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Belloc Family correspondence, MS.2007.007, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Belloc Family Correspondence and Administrative Documents, MS.2007.009, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Bessie Rayner Parkes Belloc - Kelsey Family Collection, MS.1998.027, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Elodie (Hogan) Belloc Correspondence, MS.2007.005, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hilary A. Belloc Papers, MS.1998.004, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hilaire Belloc Papers, MS.2005.002, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hilaire Belloc Papers, MS.2005.003, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hilaire Belloc papers, MS.2007.012, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Herbert Family - Hilaire Belloc Correspondence, MS.1991.003, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Hoffman Nickerson - Hilaire Belloc Collection, MS.1988.008, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Patrick Cahill Collection of Belloc and Chesterton Materials, MS.1986.138, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

Processing Information

Some correspondence in this collection is undated but in certain cases a previous processor has approximated the date. This correspondence has been filed according to its estimated date but further research would be necessary in order to accurately place them within the collection.

Belloc Family Correspondence
1849-1976, undated [bulk 1900-1942]
Amy Devin, Biographical note by Matthew Heitzman, updated by Amy Braitsch
2007 June
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States