Personal Papers of Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon, 1801 - 2000
Scope and Contents
The papers of Madame Bodichon are dispersed. A number are held at Girton, having reached the College as gifts, mainly from the Leigh Smith family, and by purchase. The bulk of the papers at Girton consists of letters from Emily Davies to Bodichon for the period 1865-1887. Early letters relate, on the whole, to the activities of the Langham Place Circle, the English Woman’s Journal, and the Kensington Society, later letters to the foundation and day-to-day organisation of Girton College. Among the miscellaneous papers is a travel journal kept by Barbara Bodichon with accompanying sketches. There are also photographs, drawings, sketches and biographical articles and, at GCPP Bodichon 11, photocopies of correspondence by and pertaining to Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon from the papers of Norman Moore (1847-1922, physician, an important figure in BLSB's life whom she and Eugene first befriended in 1869).
- Creation: 1801 - 2000
Conditions Governing Access
Access is open to bona fide scholars by appointment only.
Biographical / Historical
Barbara Leigh Smith Bodichon (1827-1891) was the eldest child of the liaison between Anne Longden and Benjamin Leigh Smith, MP for Norwich, 1838 and 1841-1847. Born in Sussex, her childhood was spent between family homes in Hastings and London. From an early age she travelled widely, including an unchaperoned European tour with Bessie Parkes in 1850, and made a first trip to Algiers, which was influential in her life and art, in 1856. She was a cousin of Florence Nightingale and a friend of, amongst others, George Eliot, Emily Davies and Bessie Parkes. In 1857 she married a French doctor, Eugene Bodichon, a resident of Algeria, and for many years thereafter divided each year between Algeria and Britain. Barbara Bodichon was an artist, a prolific painter of landscapes, her principal exhibitions taking place between 1850 and 1872 at the Royal Academy, the Society of Female Artists and the French Gallery, Pall Mall and other galleries. A leader of the campaigns for women’s work, suffrage, legal rights and education, she founded Portman Hall School and published 'A Brief Summary of the Most Important Laws Concerning Women' in 1854, published 'Women and Work' in 1857 and, with Bessie Parkes, founded the English Woman's Journal in 1858. She was also instrumental in the foundation of Girton College in 1869.
10 archive box(es) (10 boxes) : paper
Language of Materials
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Acquired by Girton College by gift, chiefly from the Leigh Smith family, and also by purchase. Also, in the case of the Moore family papers at GCPP Bodichon 11, the original letters were loaned by the Moore family and photocopied by Girton College Library staff on the Library's premises in 1995.
Existence and Location of Originals
The originals of the Moore family letters are held in a private collection.
Existence and Location of Copies
The Bodichon papers held by Girton College as at 1986 were microfilmed in that year by Harvester Microform Research Publications Company.
Bodichon, Barbara Leigh Smith, 1827-1891, nee Smith, artist and women's activist
Finding aid date