Goudge Special Collection

Guide to the Goudge Archive

Collection Title: Elizabeth Goudge Archive

Dates: 1937-2005

Creator: John Cicala and Byron Preston

Extent: 5 folders

Language of Materials: English

Acquisition Information: Copies of the original letters and envelopes were transferred to the Mount Saint Mary College Curtin Memorial Library by the Lupton Library, The University of Tennessee At Chattanooga, on February 10, 1999.

Conditions Governing Access: None.

Mount Saint Mary College
Curriculum Library
330 Powell Ave Newburgh, NY 12550
Email: tiffany.davis@msmc.edu
Phone: 845.569.3351

Biographical/Historical Information:
This popular British author was born in Wells, England on April 24, 1900. She was the first of and only child of Ida Collenette Goudge and Henry Leighton Goudge.

Of her childhood, Elizabeth wrote, "No child can have lived in lovelier homes than my first two homes, or in a more enchanted city than Wells at the beginning of the century." Her first two homes in Wells are called the Tower House and The Rib. The latter is just across the road from the Tower House. Elizabeth Goudge set three of her novels in Wells: City of Bells, Sister of the Angels, and Henrietta's House (published in the United States as The Blue Hills). In these novels Goudge calls the city Torminster, but clearly Torminster is a fictionalized Wells.

As a child Elizabeth's summers were spent on Guernsey, one of the Channel Islands, with her maternal grandparents. In these years, Elizabeth's mother did not make the trip which was rather daunting in rough seas because of her poor health. Still, Elizabeth liked Guernsey and in her autobiography, Joy in the Snow, she speaks of the people, especially her Grandfather, with great affection.

In 1911 her father, Henry Leighton Goudge, was transferred from Wells to Ely in North Eastern England. Naturally the family moved with him to this Cathedral city on the hill amidst the fens. Elizabeth loved Ely and its Cathedral. The city became the setting for The Dean's Watch.

When her father was appointed Regius Professor at Christ Church in Oxford, Elizabeth was sorry to leave Ely. [It should be noted that Henry Leighton Goudge was a scholar and his works on scripture are still sought by divinity students today.]

Elizabeth was always drawn to writing but her parents wanted to ensure that she had some marketable skills so she attended Reading University Art School for two years to study handicraft arts. She was not very good at drawing although some years later one of her teachers who read her work said that she put in words what the artist saw of nature.

Her first book, The Fairy Babies and Other Stories, was a dismal failure. Goudge abandoned writing for some years and earned income by teaching design and applied arts (weaving, leather work and embroidery) from home when she lived in Ely and in Oxford.

She really did not become a full time writer until 1938 when Island Magic, a story woven out of some of the Guernsey tales her mother told, was published by Duckworth. This book opened a flood gate and many successful novels and short stories followed.

In 1944 she received the MGM Literary Award and the Literary Guild Award for Green Dolphin Country (published in the United States as Green Dolphin Street) and in 1947 she received the Carnegie Medal for The Little White Horse. (This book is the one which J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, said was her favorite as a child.)

In Goudge's last years she edited a series of anthologies. These reveal the depth and breadth of her own reading and study. Her Joy of the Snow is an autobiography. It reveals some of the sources of her inspiration and work.

- Kate Lindeman, PhD

Scope and Content:
The Elizabeth Goudge Archives are a collection of letters between Goudge and Dr. David Beebe, plans for the development of the archive, Goudge's published short stories, reviews of Goduge's work, and published criticisms.

The letters (contained in Folder 1) are photocopies of originals held by the Lupton Library, The University of Tennessee At Chattanooga.

Folder 2 contains correspondence discussing the development of the archives as well as biographical notes, author sketches, and Goudge's obituary published in the New York Times.

Folders 3 and 4 contain short stories and reviews published in magazines between 1937 and 1951.

Literary criticisms are the primary component of Folder 5, although there are some miscellaneous items including an interview of J.K. Rowling, in which she mentions Elizabeth Goudge.

Container List/Contents:
Folder 1: Correspondence, March 5, 1979-July 27, 1981
Folder 2: Archive Plans (1997-2005)
Folder 3: Published Short Stories and Reviews, 1937-1944
Folder 4: Published Short Stories and Reviews, 1947-1951
Folder 5: Notes and Published Criticism, 1997-1999