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Maurice Baring papers

Collection MS-1996-041: Maurice Baring papers


  • Creation: 1920-1963
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1937 - 1943

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of correspondence, a handwritten manuscript, and ephemera written by and concerning Maurice Baring. The bulk of the collection consists of letters written by Baring to the writer Enid Bagnold, otherwise known as Lady Jones, between 1931 and 1943. There are also letters from Baring to Gerald Gould, James Pond, Edward Shanks, S. K. Ratcliffe, and Leslie Chaundy. The letters from 1963 are between Bagnold and Julian Jeffs concerning Baring's letters to Bagnold. Of particular note are letters mentioning meetings with Noel Coward, Desmond MacCarthy, Hilaire Belloc, and Virginia Woolf (a few weeks before her suicide). The handwritten letters are mostly in a secretarial hand, as Baring was crippled with arthritis. There is also a letter from Enid Bagnold to Baring.

The remainder of the collection consists of a short handwritten manuscript in French by Baring entitled Three Minutes, or the Death of Caesar, his copy of The Order for the Burial of the Dead and a typed storage list of items belonging to Baring stored in a library at North End House. The list is seemingly typed by Bagnold, as it concludes with a short letter to Baring listing the books Bagnold is borrowing and an offer to send him any of his things at any time.


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: Maurice Baring

Maurice Baring was born April 27, 1874, in London, England, into an aristocratic family. He was the son of the first Lord Revelstoke, and attended Eton School and Trinity College, Cambridge, though he left Cambridge in 1894 without taking a degree. His love of languages led him into diplomatic service at the age of 24. While in the diplomatic service he served as an attaché in Paris, Copenhagen, and Rome, and also worked for a year at the Foreign Office in London. In 1904 he left diplomacy to become a foreign correspondent, first for the London Morning Post covering the Russo-Japanese War and as their correspondent in Turkey, and later for the London Times covering the Balkan War. In 1909 he converted to Catholicism, which he described as "the only action in my life which I am quite certain I have never regretted." This early period of Baring's life is documented in his autobiography, The Puppet Show of Memory (1922). During the first World War he became a staff officer in the Royal Air Force, and was later appointed OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire). His experiences during World War I were recorded in his memoir, RFC HQ, 1914–1918 (1920).

Baring published a book of poetry in 1903 entitled The Black Prince and Other Poems, and prior to World War I he had published plays, poems, parodies, and pastiches. During this time he also authored many books concerned with Russia, which included a short account of Russian literature as well as journalistic accounts, essays, and a memoir of his time spent there. All these works were well received and his plays were produced and reviewed.

Several of Baring's friends were killed during the war, inspiring him to write verse in their honor. The most famous of these poems was "In Memoriam: Auberon Herbert, Captain Lord Lucas, Royal Flying Corps, Killed November 3, 1916." With the exception of this verse and a biography on Sarah Bernhardt, Baring turned to writing novels after the war, and between 1921 and 1935 he published 13 novels, the most famous of which are C (1924), Cat's Cradle (1925), and Daphne Adeane (1926).

Baring was a close friend of Hilaire Belloc and G. K. Chesterton. Toward the end of his life he entered into a literary correspondence with the author Enid Bagnold (Lady Jones), in which he advised her on her work as they casually discussed the craft of writing. In 1936 he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and spent the last years of his life as the guest of Lord Lovat at Beaufort Castle, Beauly, Inverness-shire, Scotland. He died there on December 14, 1945.


Cisco, Michael. 'Baring, Maurice (1874–1945)' Contemporary Authors Online, Gale, 2003. (Accessed 1 April 2020). Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000005192.

Robert Speaight, 'Baring, Maurice (1874–1945),' rev. Annette Peach, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 (Accessed 1 April 2020).

Biographical Note: Enid Bagnold

Enid Algerin Bagnold, who was also known as Lady Jones after she married Sir Roderick Jones, was born in Kent, England, on October 27, 1889. In 1912, she became a journalist for Hearth and Home magazine, and in 1918 she wrote A Diary without Dates, a book about her experiences as a nurse in London during the first World War. The book was an immediate success, and after achieving fame in her twenties, she continued to write, producing numerous works of fiction and nonfiction throughout her lifetime. Her best known book is the novel National Velvet (1935), which became a hugely successful film starring Elizabeth Taylor in 1944, and which she later adapted for the stage. Her first play, Lottie Dundass, written in 1941, was also an immediate success, and for the rest of her life, with a few exceptions, Bagnold wrote exclusively for the theater. Her most well-known play is The Chalk Garden, which was first produced in 1955. Her literary strength lay in her gift for narrative, dialogue, and domestic scenes, for which she drew extensively on her own experience and the characters of her friends.

In 1920 Bagnold married Sir Roderick Jones, chairman and managing director of Reuters, and they had four children together. During the 1930s Bagnold visited Germany and "was impressed with what she saw, writing journalistic pieces extolling the virtues of Nazism." She was heavily criticized by many, including Baring, for these pieces, which she later recanted. In 1976 she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). She died of bronchopneumonia on March 31, 1981.


Nigel Nicolson, 'Bagnold, Enid Algerine [married name Enid Algerine Jones, Lady Jones] (1889–1981),' Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004 (Accessed 1 April 2020).

Lib Taylor. 'Bagnold, Enid (1889–1981),' Dictionary of Literary Biography, Gale, 2007 (Accessed 1 April 2020). Gale Document Number: GALE|H1000004230.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



The papers document the life and work of British diplomat, journalist, and author Maurice Baring (1874-1945). The materials consist primarily of correspondence but also include a handwritten manuscript by Baring and some ephemera.


Arranged into two series: I. Correspondence, and II. Writings and ephemera


Because the current accessioning system was not used until January 1986, it is not possible to know exactly the dates of acquisition of materials received before that time. Additional materials were purchased from David J. Holmes, March 17, 1998 and also transferred from Burns cataloging, May 2, 2003.

Related Materials

Alfred Noyes papers, MS.2006.054, John J. Burns Library, Boston College.

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

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

Maurice Baring Papers, 1918-1932 (MS Eng 1275). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

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

Processing Information

The letter to Leslie Chandy was found in the book A Bibliography of the First Editions of the Works of Maurice Baring compiled by Leslie Chaundy, published by Dulau and Co. in 1925.

Maurice Baring Papers
1920-1963, bulk 1937-1943
Scott Peterson, 2006; revised by Ray Hartley
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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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