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Dorothy Brett Collection

Identifier: MS27

Scope and Contents

The correspondence, diaries and typescripts in this collection were written by Dorothy Brett between 1922 and 1969. They reflect Brett's artistic focus, especially her fascination with Native American Pueblo culture which began on a visit to Taos, New Mexico in 1924. The materials fall into two chronological periods: those written from 1922-1948 which include her Bloomsbury friendships, and the written dialogue with Leland H. Roloff from 1965-1969 for the publication of her autobiography for which he prepared a foreword.

Correspondence to John Middleton Murry between 1922-1948 includes discussions about Katherine Mansfield, Frieda and D.H. Lawrence, painting, and life in New Mexico.The correspondence and interviews between 1965-1969 with Leland H. Roloff as part of the process for the publication of her autobiography included such topics as painting, Brett's deafness, and various reminiscences. Roloff's foreword to Brett's biography and his interview with Brett and John Manchester are also part of the collection.

Typescripts in the collection often have corrections in Brett's hand. Included are Brett's "America," "To the White Rose: My Strange and Beautiful Journey," (2 versions), "Christmas Morning," selections from her notebook, and an untitled memoir. Roloff's foreword to Brett's biography and his interview with Brett and John Manchester are also part of the collection.

Photocopies of various photographs, information about the Brett family in England, and a photocopy of Carrington's "The Tale and Doings of the Most Wonderous and Valiant Brett" were also part of Leland H. Roloff's gift.


  • 1922 - 1969
  • Majority of material found within 1965 - 1969


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on use of the materials in the department for research; all patrons must comply with federal copyright regulations.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright for materials resides with the literary executors of Dorothy Brett and other creators of the materials in this collection.

Biographical Information

Dorothy Eugenie Brett (1883-1977) studied at the Slade School of Art and University College in London. She became friends with Dora Carrington, Katherine Mansfield, John Middleton Murry, Frieda and D.H. Lawrence and other members of the Bloomsbury circle. She documented her friendship with Lawrence in "Lawrence and Brett: A Friendship." New York, 1933. Brett visited New Mexico with Frieda and D.H. Lawrence in 1924, and moved to Taos permanently by 1926. She changed her artistic focus to the Native American Pueblo culture, painting landscapes and portraits with their cultural themes. Her efforts helped create an artistic community in Taos.


1.00 Boxes


Artist Dorothy Brett, a member of the Bloomsbury group, was a friend of Katherine Mansfield, John Middleton Murry, and Frieda and D.H. Lawrence. This collection includes typescripts for her autobiography, a continuation of her memoirs on D.H. Lawrence, and some of her correspondence to John Middleton Murry about the Lawrences. Brett's diaries recounting her visits to Taos, New Mexico (1924), and Capri (1926); a copy of her manuscript on her friendship with Katherine Mansfield; and an interview and correspondence with Leland H. Roloff (1965-1969) are also part of the collection.

Arrangement of Materials

The Brett Collection is grouped according to type of material, with each correspondence series organized chronologically. Brett's letters to John Middleton Murry (1922-1948) and Leland H. Roloff (1965-1969) are in separate folders. The diaries and typescripts are each in separate folders.

Acquisition Information

Most of the materials in the Dorothy Brett Collection were gifts of Northwestern University professor in the School of Speech, Leland H. Roloff, in 1975 and 1981. The correspondence of Dorothy Brett to John Middleton Murry was acquired by the McCormick Library from David Schulson Autographs in 1987.

Processing Information

Processed by Sigrid Pohl Perry in 1988.

Guide to the Dorothy Brett Collection
Finding Aid Authors: Sigrid Pohl Perry.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US