Skip to main content

Charlotte Louisa Hawkins Dempster letters to George Dempster

Collection MS-1995-007: Charlotte Louisa Hawkins Dempster letters to George Dempster


  • Creation: 1864 - 1910
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1864 - 1887

Scope and Contents

The Charlotte Louisa Hawkins Dempster letters contain her correspondence to her uncle, George Dempster, organized in 13 bound volumes. The volumes also include telegrams, playbills, programs, and invitations.

In the letters, Dempster writes mainly about the books she is writing and her travels around Europe, including visits to Cannes, Nice, Geneva, Florence, Pisa, Aix-les-Bains, Paris, Marseilles, Dijon, Lyons, and London. She also discusses the weather, people she visits, her health, the food, church services, and her expenses (for which her uncle reimbursed her).

Dates have been added to many of the letters, presumably by her uncle, whose book plate is on the inside cover of each volume.


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

Charlotte Louisa Hawkins Dempster was born on April 10, 1835 in Forfar, Scotland. Her parents, James Hawkins and Charlotte Soper-Dempster of Skibo, were cousins. Dempster spent her childhood in Scotland, often traveling with her mother to Saint Andrews. After her father’s death in 1841, Dempster and her siblings were adopted by their maternal uncle, George Dempster of Skibo, who took on the responsibility for their education. Because she was troubled by the cold, Dempster spent several winters abroad in Nice (1864-1865), Paris, and Rome (1866-1867). During her adult life, Dempster traveled extensively around Europe.

Dempster published her first novel, The Hôtel du Petit St. Jean: a Gascon Story, in 1869. Her books were widely read as popular novels, and one, Véra, was even translated into Russian. Her last work, The Manners of My Time, an autobiography that drew heavily on transcriptions of letters she had written to her uncle, was edited and published after her death by her goddaughter, Alice Knox. In addition to her ten books, Dempster was a contributor to the Edinburgh Review, the North British Review, Blackwood’s Magazine, and other periodicals.

Dempster never married, and in 1880, she and her sister Helen settled permanently in a villa in Cannes, France, and continued to visit their uncle in England and Scotland during the summers. In 1891, Dempster joined the Roman Catholic Church and helped build the Chapel of St. Charles des Carrières, a small church near Cannes for quarrymen living in the neighborhood. Dempster died in Cannes on May 8, 1913.


Dempster, Charlotte Louisa Hawkins. The Manners of My Time. Ed. Alice Knox. London: Grant Richards, Ltd., 1920.


2.75 Linear Feet (13 containers)

Language of Materials



The letters comprise thirteen bound volumes containing the correspondence of nineteenth-century Scottish author Charlotte Louisa Hawkins Dempster to her uncle, George Dempster. Also contained in the volumes are ephemera, including playbills and programs.


The volumes have been arranged chronologically.


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.

Processing Information

The folder of "loose materials" contains correspondence and ephemera that was either detached from the volumes or merely inserted; at the time of processing, these were gathered together for better long-term preservation. At least one item has a note indicating which volume it was in originally.

Charlotte Louisa Hawkins Dempster Letters to George Dempster
1864-1910 (bulk 1871-1887)
Abigail Blachly, March 2003; revised by AnneMarie Anderson, May 2010; Rachael Young
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