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Belloc family correspondence

Collection MS-1996-028: Belloc family correspondence


  • Creation: 1858-1974
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1922 - 1941

Scope and Contents

This collection contains letters between Hilaire Belloc and various correspondents, including his son-in-law, Reginald Jebb, as well as correspondence sent to Belloc's daughter, Eleanor Jebb about her father. The collection also includes correspondence between the members of Reginald Jebb's immediate family. Additionally, it contains a few of Belloc's handwritten notes and memoranda.

Of particular interest is a letter written by Belloc's eldest son, Louis, just eight days before his disappearance during World War I. In the letter to Mrs. Leigh Smith, Louis discusses learning to fly for the first time and his service in France. Also notable is a handwritten letter from George Bernard Shaw to Eleanor Belloc Jebb on the occasion of her father's eightieth birthday. The handwritten letter from Shaw is dated June 28, 1950 and is accompanied by a photograph of the author. Shaw writes that Belloc "is happily young enough to wish to be a centenarian. When he is my age he will dread nothing more. I am waiting, not too patiently, for my everlasting rest." Shaw would die later that year.


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: Hilaire Belloc

The French-born British author Joseph Hilaire Peter Belloc was born in Celle Saint-Cloud, France, on July 27, 1870. In 1896 Hilaire married Elodie Hogan, an American, and they had 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 Robespierre (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 in England 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. He died on July 16, 1953.


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


1.5 Linear Feet (3 containers)


This collection contains correspondence to and from Hilaire Belloc, a late nineteenth and early twentieth-century French-born British author. It also includes a small number of Belloc's handwritten notes and correspondence between members of Reginald Jebb's family.


Arranged into three series: I. Belloc notes and personal memoranda, II. Hilaire Belloc correspondence, and III. Other correspondence.


Purchased from Bertram Rota Ltd. on October 16, 1996.

Related Materials

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

Belloc Family correspondence, MS.2007.008, 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.

Arthur MacGillivray, S.J. collection of twentieth-century authors, BC.1991.053, 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 items in this collection were damaged by mold and were subsequently photocopied and then the originals destroyed. These photocopies have been sorted with the other items in this collection.


Belloc Family Correspondence
1858-1974 (bulk 1922-1941)
Philip Kiley, S.J.; Francis Vye, S.J.; Matthew Heitzman; Amy Braitsch
2007 June - 2008 Spring
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