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Hilaire Belloc Papers

Collection MS-2007-012: Hilaire Belloc Papers


  • Creation: 1694-2004
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1895-1953

Scope and Contents

The Hilaire Belloc Papers consists of materials spanning nearly three centuries, from 1694-2004, the bulk of which date between 1895 and 1953. This collection represents of Belloc's personal interests and public engagements, including his family life with his wife Elodie and their five children; his estate at King's Land; his life-long defense of Catholicism; his political service as a Member of Parliament; and his prolific contributions as an author, poet, and public intellectual over a 55-year period.

Among the writings by Belloc are two book typescripts, The History of England and The Last Rally; various manuscripts, typescripts, proofs; and reprints of books, articles, reviews, poetry, prose, and pamphlets. The writings by Belloc also include diaries; memoranda; and manuscript and typescript notes. The writings about Belloc consist largely of articles; book reviews; poetry; and political and lecture reviews. The writings saved by Belloc mostly pertain to religious and political issues and include articles, pamphlets, leaflets, appeals, reports, and bills.

Of particular note are the extensive photographic portraits of Belloc and various family members, as well as photographs representing some of Belloc's travels and his interest in sailing. There is also an array of manuscript and published background materials for Belloc's Tactics and Strategy of the Duke of Marlborough dating back to the late-seventeenth century, an original illustration by G.K. Chesterton for Belloc's Pongo and the Bull, a sketchbook attributed to G.G. Coulton, and an extensive series of professional photographs of Belloc's estate at King's Land taken by Kenneth Prater, A.I.I.P. The collection also features published and unpublished bibliographies that collectively account for most, if not all, of Belloc's major writings, along with some lists of various articles by Belloc, and an article on the contents of his personal library at King's Land.


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: Hilaire Belloc

The English writer Joseph Hilaire Peter Belloc was born in Celle Saint-Cloud, France on 27 July 1870. His mother was an English citizen, and the family moved to England when Belloc's French father died. Belloc attended the Oratory School in Edgbaston, County of Warwick, under John Henry Cardinal Newman from 1880-1887. After Belloc finished school, he returned to France to complete his compulsory military service.

After a brief stay in the United States, Belloc returned to England in 1893 to attend Balliol College, Oxford. In 1896 he completed his degree with first class honors in history. That same year he married an American, Elodie Hogan, with whom he had five children: three sons and two daughters.

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 which 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.

Belloc became a British citizen in 1902, and in 1906 he was elected to the House of Commons as the representative for South Salford, a seat which 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 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, died in 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 authored 153 books of essays, fiction, history, biography, and poetry, as well as numerous articles for various periodicals. He continued to travel extensively until suffering a stroke in 1942. On July 12, 1953, Belloc accidentally fell into his fireplace while sleeping beside it. He was badly burned and died soon afterward on July 16, 1953.

A more complete biographical sketch on Hilaire Belloc is available in the Burn Library's Reading Room, along with a detailed chronology of Belloc's life and travels, as well as a bibliography of his principal works.


23.5 Linear Feet (33 containers)


The collection consists of manuscripts, publications, and printed materials from Belloc's nearly sixty years as a public intellectual. Also included are artwork and photographs of Belloc, various family members, and Belloc's King's Land estate. The collection also contains Belloc diaries, memoranda, notes, and bibliographies, as well as background materials that date back to 1694.


Arranged into three series. Series I. Materials by Belloc; Series II. Materials about Belloc; and Series III. Materials Saved by Belloc.

Series I is arranged into six subseries. Subseries A. Manuscripts and Typescripts; Subseries B. Publications; Subseries C. Printed Materials; Subseries D. Personal Papers; Subseries E. Financial Records; and Subseries F. Visual Materials.

Series II is arranged into four subseries. Subseries A. Manuscripts and Typescripts; Subseries B. Publications; Subseries C. Printed Materials; and Subseries D. Visual Materials.

Series III is arranged into six subseries. Subseries A. Manuscripts and Typescripts; Subseries B. Publications; Subseries C. Periodicals; Subseries D. Appeals, Bills, Case Statement, and Reports; Subseries E. Printed Material; and Subseries F. Visual Materials.


Purchased from Bertram Rota Ltd. in 1981.

Related Materials

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.

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.

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
1694-2004 (bulk 1895-1953)
Amy Braitsch, Spring 2008; Adrienne Pruitt
July 2013
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