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Hilaire Belloc papers

Collection MS-2005-003: Hilaire Belloc papers


  • Creation: 1834-approximately 1970
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1907-1938

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the materials are published and unpublished writings of Hilaire Belloc including manuscripts, typescripts, proofs, and galleys; reprints of various articles, essays, reviews, poetry, plays, prose, notes; and about eighty of Belloc's books. Among the other publications in this collection are a series of reviews of Belloc's books and articles; commentary on Belloc's politics; parliamentary materials saved by Belloc; and printed materials including book notices, lecture notices, syllabi, speeches, news clippings, leaflets, advertisements, and weekly journals.

The collection also contains visual materials, including artwork and photographs, such as illustrations for Belloc's New Cautionary Tales drawn by Nicolas Bentley and photographic portraits of Hilaire Belloc, family members, friends, and associates. Other photographic materials include images of Belloc's King's Land Estate, photo albums, and sailing and ship photos. Also included in the visual materials are a photograph of Sir James Dunn's painted portrait of Hilaire Belloc, Maurice Baring, and G. K. Chesterton, entitledThe Conversation, and over 1,000 printed maps.

Of particular note is an unpublished autobiography dictated by Belloc around 1936 and some sound recordings of Belloc's songs, including a phonographic disc entitled The Authentic Voice of Hilaire Belloc Singing with Ian Wallace, pressed around 1970. The remainder of the materials in this collection include financial records, typescript diaries, memoranda and agenda, and approximately 30 manuscript diaries variously attributable to Hilaire Belloc, Elodie Hogan Belloc, and Elizabeth Hogan.

Additional materials include scrapbooks, materials found in scrapbooks, and an array of printed materials such as postcards, an honors certificate, and two honorary degrees bestowed upon Hilaire Belloc.


Language of Materials

English, French, Latin, Spanish, Italian, German, and Polish.

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 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.


79.75 Linear Feet (151 containers)


The papers document the personal and professional life of French-born British author Hilaire Belloc (1870-1953). Materials include manuscripts, articles, publications, lecture and research notes, maps, student papers, financial records, drawings and sketches, paintings, photographs, sketchbooks, and scrapbooks. Additional materials include a series of diaries by Hilaire Belloc, Elodie Hogan Belloc, and Elizabeth Hogan.


Arranged into twelve series: I. Artifacts, II. Belloc student papers and lecture notes, III. Diaries, logs, journals, and an autograph book, IV. Diplomas and certificates, V. Financial records, VI. Manuscripts, VII. Maps, VIII. Personal papers, IX. Publications, X. Scrapbooks XI. Sound recordings, XII. Visual materials.

VI. Manuscripts is arranged into nine subseries: A. Articles and Essays, B. Books, C. Lectures, speeches, addresses, lecture notes, syllabi, D. Manuscripts by others, E. Memoirs, plays, dialogues, songs, F. Other manuscript materials, G. Oversize manuscript materials, H. Poetry, and I. Unidentified Belloc manuscripts.

IX. Publications is arranged into three subseries: A. Publications by Belloc, B. Publications about Belloc, and C. Publications saved by Belloc.

XII. Visual materials is arranged into three subseries: A. Artwork, B. Photographs, and C. Postcards.


Purchased from Hilaire Belloc Estate, 1981-1982.

Related Materials

Arthur MacGillivray, S.J. collection of twentieth-century authors, BC.1991.053.

Belloc family correspondence, MS.1996.028, 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.

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

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

Hilary A. Belloc papers, MS.1998.004, 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.

Hilaire Belloc Papers
1834-approximately 1970 (bulk 1907-1938)
Matthew Heitzman, David Tennant, Amy Braitsch
2007 Summer
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