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Douglas and Marie Immaculée Acton Woodruff family papers

Collection MS-1986-034: Douglas and Marie Immaculée Acton Woodruff family papers


  • Creation: 1858-1967

Scope and Contents

This collection comprises correspondence, diaries, notebooks, publications, financial records, and photographs of Douglas Woodruff, including records from Woodruff's editorial role at The Tablet newspaper, and his diary of Vatican II. The papers also document the Woodruff and Acton family histories through genealogical documents and original papers of the preceding generation of family members.

Of particular interest is correspondence between Woodruff and Alfred Noyes, as well as material that may have been collected by Woodruff or his family, including: a diary belonging to Elodie Hogan (later Belloc) and correspondence by Aubrey Beardsley, Ernest Dowson, and Pierre Louÿs.


Language of Materials

Primarily English, but some diaries and letters in French, Italian, and German.

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: Douglas Woodruff and Marie Immaculée Acton

Douglas Woodruff was born on May 8, 1897 to Cumberland Woodruff and Emily Louisa Hewitt in Wimbledon, England. At age 13 he converted to Catholicism, following the earlier conversion of his mother. Woodruff attended Oxford and later entered the field of journalism. He edited The Tablet from 1936-1967 and served as chairman of Associated Catholic Newspapers from 1953-1970. He was a close friend of the writer Evelyn Waugh. Woodruff also wrote many books and articles.

In 1933, Woodruff married Marie Immaculée Acton, known as Mia. She was born April 1, 1905, to Richard Lyon-Dalberg-Acton, second Baron Acton and Dorothy Lyon, Lady Acton. From 1943-1949 Acton served as the National President of the Catholic Women's League as well as the Vice Chairman of the Catholic Committee for Relief Abroad. She was a personal friend of Pope Paul VI.

Douglas Woodruff died on March 9, 1978 and Mia Woodruff died on April 5, 1994.


Hill, Roland. "Obituary: Mia Woodruff," The Independent, April 7, 1994.

Waugh, Auberon. "Woodruff, (John) Douglas, 1897-1978." Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. 23 Sep. 2004. (Accessed April 6, 2020).


4.25 Linear Feet (9 containers)


Collection of correspondence, diaries, financial records, genealogical information, notebooks, and photographs of Catholic journalist Douglas Woodruff, Catholic charitable activist Marie Immaculée Acton Woodruff, and their families.


Organized into four series: I. Douglas Woodruff papers; II. Woodruff family papers; III. Acton family papers; and IV. Collected materials.

Series I is further divided into four subseries: A. Diaries, notebooks, and publications; B. Correspondence; C. Financial records; and D. Photographs.


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.

Douglas and Marie Immaculée Acton Woodruff Family Papers
Donald Green; 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